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CBD: Know the Facts

There are both federal and state regulations regarding the purchase and use of cannabidiol (CBD) products, creating confusion on whether it can be purchased or consumed legally. It is important to know which regulations affect you, especially when you are a CBP employee or family member. 

What Is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol and is derived from the cannabis sativa L. plant - commonly known as marijuana. Advertisements show CBD products as a treatment for many ailments. While CBD is non-psychotropic, CBD products do contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 

CBD Products

CBD oil is commonly mixed into massage oils, lotions, balms, makeup, skin and hair products or incorporated into food such as baked goods, gummies, beverages, and a widening array of goods.

Over the counter CBD products are not controlled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and therefore may have greater THC content than advertised. Studies have shown that some CBD product labeling does not reflect the actual contents. CBD products that are advertised as "pure" may contain illegal amounts of THC.

A 2019 memo from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) describes how CBD labeling is unregulated and, regardless of what the label says, can contain THC. In a study cited by HHS, 58 of 84 CBD products tested (69 percent) were incorrectly labeled. The presence of THC, whether introduced through the use of marijuana or through an inaccurately labeled CBD product, can cause a positive drug test result.

The Issue for Federal Employees

The CBP Drug Free Workplace Plan, which requires drug testing, applies to all CBP federal civilian employees. Even though many states have legalized use, marijuana and THC remain prohibited substances under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. 

The use of CBD products—topically or by ingestion—can cause a positive drug test due to the presence of THC. CBP does not consider this a false positive, since it is an actual finding of THC.  This can result in disciplinary action, up to and including removal from service. 

Say No to CBD

If there are any doubts as to whether a particular product contains a prohibited substance, employees should refrain from using (such as through ingestion or topical application).

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the agency overseeing the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Program, provides additional information regarding the federal policy for testing and use of these products.  

Available Support

If you or a family member has a substance abuse problem and would like free counseling, please visit CBP's Employee Assistance Program website (password: cbpeap) or call toll-free 800-755-7002, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Last Modified: Apr 27, 2023
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