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can federal employees use cbd oil

The popularity of CBD oil in 2020 is at an all-time high. Now that federal law has allowed the sale and use of cannabidiol, or CBD, it is everywhere. Consumers can find these products hanging up at their gas stations or propped up on stands at their local convenience store. This has encouraged people who have never tried any cannabis-derived products to take their first dive. Some of these first time (or veteran) users happen to be federal workers. But, can federal employees use CBD oil? 

Although CBD products are federally legal, these products have different guidelines for employees of the federal government. At the intersection of lax FDA regulations and non-reputable business practices is a black hole that threatens the job security of federal works. Let us explain how. 


Is CBD Oil Legal?

Yes, under federal law CBD oil, from hemp, is legal for use in the United States of America. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the growth, distribution, and sale of hemp on a federal level. Hemp is cannabis grown with no more than 0.3% THC, which is the psychoactive element associated with the plant (CBD flower).  


The use of CBD has increased exponentially since the bill passed. Cannabidiol is legal, but not fully regulated. That means the industry is widely free to operate (within specific guidelines) without FDA approval. 

CBD oil being dropped into a test tube in preparation for lab report



Is CBD Oil Regulated?

Cannabidiol is only partially regulated by law. Growers, distributors, and consumers must stick to particular outlines to make sure they stay within legal limits. Still, because the FDA does no regulatory oversight in the process, there are products out there that may not be reputable.


That can go either way for consumers. They could buy a product labeled CBD that has none in it at all, or buy a product labeled CBD that has a decent percentage of THC in it. Both of these are non-reputable practices for a business, as they should be making sure to provide consumers with a good and honest product. Unfortunately, not all businesses operate with this mentality.  


What is in CBD Oil?

CBD oil has become very popular since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. This has left many consumers with questions about the product. Cannabidiol comes from the cannabis plant. Unlike its cousin, THC, cannabidiol has no psychoactive effects.
Experts extract CBD from the cannabis plant, but then mix it with a carrier oil. Carrier oils’ purpose is to dilute products that are not easily absorbed by the body. They get their name because they help carry essential oils into the body. Coconut and hemp seed oil are two of the most popular carrier oils in the industry.

When mixed with a fatty plant-based carrier oil, CBD binds to fat molecules, which are easier for the body to break down and absorb. CBD oil can come in three different varieties: Full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate. Depending on your purpose of use, each has its benefits. 


Full Spectrum

Full spectrum CBD products contain all of the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, including THC. When all the cannabinoids and terpenes work together, they create the entourage effect. This is the highest form of benefit a consumer can achieve. Only trace amounts (0.3% or less) of THC are legally permitted to be in full spectrum products. Although this amount is minimal, taking full spectrum products may result in a positive drug test for THC.


Broad Spectrum

Broad spectrum CBD products contain all of the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, excluding THC. This product is typically purchased by consumers who may have drug testing, because there is no THC in it. There is still an entourage effect with broad spectrum CBD use.



CBD isolates are the purest form of the product. They contain virtually no other cannabinoids that are in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol isolates provide consumers with just CBD, and none of the extra cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids. Because of this, isolates are also a choice product for those who may need to take a drug test.

Keep in mind that since the FDA is not actively regulating companies and their products, broad spectrum CBD and CBD isolates may contain trace amounts of THC. Reputable companies will make sure that their products fit the proper guidelines though, so consumers should make sure to stick to trusted brands and products.


If it looks too good to be true, consumers should stay away from those products. For example, if any product promises super high amounts of cannabidiol at an extremely low price, you should be cautious. Also, companies that hide their labels, do not include the ingredients, or do not get third party lab testing should never be trusted. 

adding cbd oil to tea


Can Federal Employees Use CBD Oil? 

Despite federal law, federal employees have been warned against using cannabidiol. The US Army, The Department of Defense, The Coast Guard, The Marines, and NASA have sent memos to their workers reminding them of no tolerance rules when it comes to THC. The memos were prompted by the legalization of hemp and the growing popularity of cannabidiol.



The federal government’s recent concern comes after The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sent out a notice stating that the “the Food and Drug Administration does not certify levels of THC in the products.”


“Under the [Drug-Free Workplace Program], there is no legitimate medical explanation for a marijuana positive test result other than a verified prescription for Marinol®, Sativex® or generic equivalent,” Ronald R. Flegel, who is the Director of the SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Prevention’s Division of Workplace Programs,” stated.


This puts federal workers in a tough spot. Although broad spectrum and isolate products should not contain any THC, there may still be risks involved. Remember, trace amounts of THC may cause positive drug tests. Unfortunately, there are horror stories of workers in the federal government taking cannabidiol and losing their jobs after drug testing.


Can Federal Employees Get a Prescription for CBD Oil?

As mentioned by Ronald R. Flegel and quoted above, both Marinol® and Sativex® are two cannabis-based prescription medications approved for use by federal workers under the law. Epidiolex®, which is a federally legalized and FDA approved CBD oil for those suffering from certain types of epileptic seizures, is also safe for federal workers to use.


Outside of these prescription drugs, or their generic equivalent, there are no cannabidiol or cannabis-derived products recommended for use by Federal Workers. 


Final Thoughts 

Yes, cannabidiol is federally legal across the nation. The 2018 Farm Bill has caused the cannabidiol business to expand vastly, without full regulation. This has left pockets of irregularities in the industry, filled in by companies that refuse to go by reputable practices. Although there are several companies that “color in the lines,” there are just as many that do not follow the rules.

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It is unfortunate but true that federal employees take on a risk with the use of CBD oil. Taking CBD has the potential, however small it is, to test positive for THC on a drug test. It is not worth losing your job over. If a federal worker can get a prescription for cannabis-based products, then go for it. That is the best way to work within the law for your job’s safety. Hopefully, in the near future, the CBD market will have regulations that allow for risk-free use for federal workers. View about to this link.

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