Can You Use CBD or Delta-8 as a Federal Employee? Here's the Verdict

Is it safe to use CBD or Delta-8 as a federal employee? We have bad news for you. 


If you are a Federal employee and you use CBD you run the risk of testing positive for marijuana.  But, everyone knows CBD is legal and available in most dispensaries and gas stations, so what’s the big deal? 


CBD legality rests on the fact that it must have a 0.03% or lower THC reading. Everything above this threshold is considered marijuana and I’m sure you know marijuana is restricted for Federal employees. However, even though CBD packaging claims to have less than 0.03% THC, it still doesn't mean you're in the clear.


Unfortunately, more than a few federal employees have been fired for taking CBD.  This article will explain the legal ramifications of using CBD and Delta-8 if you are a Federal employee in 2023.

It's Legal, but You Still Shouldn't Use CBD as a Federal Employee


The 2018 Farm Bill made cannabidiol (CBD) federally legal, so most Federal employees would think it’s safe to use. Although CBD is considered hemp and not marijuana, federal employees could still come up positive if they take a drug test. 

The FDA does not currently certify the levels of THC in CBD products. For all the CBD products sold in the U.S., there is no Federal oversight to ensure that the labels are accurate. CBD products contain unregulated amounts of THC, which is currently restricted for federal employees as THC is still federally illegal in the US.  Below we’ll talk about three reasons you should avoid CBD as a government employee. 


CBD Testing Is Too Risky for Federal Employees



Federal law says cannabis containing 0.03 percent or less THC is hemp, while cannabis with more than 0.03 counts as marijuana. CBD packaging may claim it's all in legal amounts but unfortunately, CBD products still lack regulation. 


I wouldn’t recommend trusting that your CBD product has less than 0.3% of D9 THC, because, even if the CBD dispensary says the amount of THC is below 0.03%, it's still a huge risk to stake your career on this.


Simply put, you just can’t trust your CBD manufacturer to keep the THC levels below 0.03%, even if that's what it says on the packaging. 


Also when screening is done in the federal workplace, your employer is looking for THC, not CBD. So if your CBD has trace amounts of THC above 0.03%, the screening doesn't discern whether it came from marijuana or CBD; it just reads that you have THC in your body. 

And not only that but even CBD containing legal amounts of THC might test positive for federal employees who take too much of it over time.


Even CBD Supplements Can Cost Government Employees Their Job

CBD is often sold as a supplement, which means a lack of consistency, THC concentration, or ingredient regulation. In fact, the product may be labeled to have low levels but instead have high levels of Delta-9 THC.

Because there is a lack of consistency and accuracy, the concentration of THC levels can vary greatly from vendor to vendor. To be blunt, the label on CBD products means squat.

Therefore, if you use inaccurately labeled CBD supplements, they, too, can lead to a positive marijuana test. Since marijuana is still classified as a controlled substance under federal law, it means that even CBD gummies, CBD oil, and every other CBD supplement can fail your drug screening.


Federal Employees Are Getting Fired for CBD


Unfortunately, you can get fired for using legal CBD products if you're a federal employee and there are countless examples of this happening over the past few years.

For example, a DHS agent lost his job by taking CBD oil for his pain treatments. And he is far from being a sole example. A lady who suffered from disability-level migraines also got fired after using CBD oil.

Both of these Federal employees told their employers that they had never used marijuana and were using "non-psychoactive" CBD. It had no effect; they were flagged as THC-positive and terminated from their jobs.


What About Delta-8? Can Federal Employees Use D8 THC?

Delta-8 THC has become incredibly popular in the US since it's available to purchase, even in states that still ban marijuana. This is because Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol is sourced from hemp and not marijuana. 

The 2018 Farm Bill loophole makes the substance federally legal. That should make it harmless, you're wondering? Well, not quite.

If you're a federal employee, you should avoid Delta-8, too. This marijuana alternative's legality is a complicated and still evolving matter. 


DEA Confirmed Delta-8 as Schedule 1 Controlled Substance

Delta-8, called 'Marijuana Lite,' is synthetically derived from the cannabis plant. Therefore, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) states it doesn't qualify as hemp and sees it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.


In addition, Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC (marijuana) share almost identical molecules. So even if D8 weed is less potent your drug test will still flag Delta-8 as THC, which can cost you your job.


No FDA Regulation for Delta-8 

The Farm Bill loophole resulted in the creation of Delta-8 weed, which barely meets the minimum threshold of legality. In fact, Delta-8 has both psychoactive and intoxicating effects, which are similar to Delta-9 THC, which makes you high.

Also, many Delta-8 products might be mixed with Delta-9 or Delta-10 but incorrectly labeled. To be blunt, there is a high risk you will test positive for THC when using Delta-8 because the product is severely under-regulated.

Why Are Federal Employees Failing Drug Tests for CBD?

The primary reason Federal employees are failing their urine screen is due to trusting their CBD product packaging. Even though the packaging claims to be less than .03% THC it doesn’t mean that it is. Also if you smoke or ingest CBD frequently, the THC content will build up substantially and the same goes for Delta-8.


Your employer is not testing for Delta-8 or CBD, they are only testing to see if there is THC in your body and both CBD and Delta-8 will leave traces of THC in your system, which can result in a positive. This isn’t always the case, but many Federal employees have been fired for making this mistake.

Remember the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) doesn't test for Delta-9 but only for marijuana metabolite THCA in urine, it doesn't matter if it's Delta-8, CBD, or even Delta-9 THC, the test is just looking for THC.

Once the organism breaks the molecule and passes it through urine, the test will find THCA metabolites. Furthermore, THCA metabolite can be detected in the organism for up to seven days. Naturally, if you consume it often, the THCA in the body will take longer to disappear.

Federal Agencies: CBD Rules and Recommendations

In this section, we will discuss the different Federal agencies and their rules and recommendations regarding CBD. 


NASA’s CBD Policy

Even though CBD is sold as a natural remedy for pain and anxiety, NASA warned its employees that it could cost them their job.

"Please be aware that the use of any compounds or substances not approved by the FDA cannot be used as a legitimate medical explanation for a positive drug test result," NASA wrote in their memo.


The Department of Defense’s CBD Policy

If you work for the DOD, the rules are simple. The Department of Defense and Service-level policies forbid employees from using hemp-derived products, including CBD, regardless of the THC levels (claimed or actual). 

Federal employees cannot use cannabis products by smoking, eating, or as an ointment, warns the US Army.


FBI’s CBD Policy


The FBI issued their recommendation on CBD in 2022 stating that the use of marijuana (including CBD) automatically disqualifies you for employment even though hemp is federally legalized. 


The document clearly states, "Candidates cannot have used marijuana or cannabis in any form (natural or synthetic) and in any location (domestic or foreign) within the one (1) year preceding the date of their employment application".


Environment Protection Agency’s CBD Policy


If you work for the Environmental Protection Agency they didn’t have any direct recommendation on CBD. However, the agency warns its employees about the federal cannabis ban, stating that those who use it on or off-duty will be subjected to disciplinary measures.


Department of Transportation's CBD Policy


The Department of Transportation requires testing for marijuana and not CBD, however, they state clearly in their memo that CBD packaging can be misleading and contain higher levels of THC than what the product label states. The DOT says that since CBD products could lead to a positive drug test, their employees should exercise caution when considering taking CBD. 

Final Thoughts

The answer to whether Federal employees can use CBD is clear; CBD is legal but the FDA does not currently regulate if the actual THC content in CBD is accurate. Federal employers are not testing for CBD but instead are testing for marijuana, and due to the misleading product labels on CBD products, you run the risk of testing positive for marijuana when taking CBD. Unfortunately, that includes CBD and CBD supplements such as CBD gummies, beverages, CBD oil, or any other CBD product.