A lot of people ask us this question and it is a good one. Before I get into the content here, I’ll start by saying that most drug tests look for THC, the psycho-active and addictive ingredient (9%) in marijuana. Very few labs bother testing for CBD as it does not have any of the negative effects of THC. With that being said, you should ask if CBD is tested where you work. Also, keep an eye open for the 2018 Federal Farm Bill as once it goes into effect (supposed to be signed into law on December 20, 2018), regulation of CBD will be going from the DEA to the FDA. This essentially will clear CBD of any association with Class 1 drugs.
CBD is 50 state legal. At the current time, the federal government still considers it as being a Class 1 drug, as stated above. Thankfully, this will be changing very soon, and this will make CBD clear for use for everyone.
CBD comes from industrial hemp, which is different from the hemp grown for smoking marijuana. There is a clear difference in how the plants are grown and bred. A plant high in THC has low CBD levels, and vice versa. Plants cannot be grown for high levels of both. This is how we can differentiate which hemp plants are grown for what reasons. Industrial hemp is grown for high CBD levels. It cannot be used for marijuana/high THC use. This is why industrial hemp is being federally legalized. The plant provides for hemp protein, hemp flour, fibers for rope and clothing, CBD, and more.
Drugs of all sorts are banned for many reasons, and for a government employee, this makes sense. Drug addiction can impair function and those addicted to drugs can be more easily blackmailed. Drug use can also impair judgement, making an employee who is privy to private information more likely to perhaps talk about what they do to the wrong person. All these make for good reasons as to why there is drug testing. For an athlete, drugs allow for an unfair advantage by enhancing performance and this is why they are banned.
CBD is quite different from drugs. Simply put, it isn’t a drug. It is a cannabinoid and it reduces levels of ‘nasty’ enzymes FAAH and MAGL. This allows for your two endocannabinoids/neurotransmitters (Anandamide and 2-AG) to interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. When this occurs, you upregulate the function of your neurological system and improve overall body function. This is a self-regulatory process. You cannot get ‘high’ from CBD. CBD is more like a supplement. It does not have any addictive properties, it is not psychoactive, and it does not impair function in any way. It has so many benefits that I believe everyone could benefit from using it. By activating the endocannabinoid system, we receive benefits from better sleep to better state of mind to less inflammation/pain, etc. We all benefit from activating our CB1 and CB2 receptors.
This is significant as most all major sports governing bodies follow the WADA guidelines. If Olympic athletes can now use CBD along with athletes of most every other sport (the NFL is still not on board yet but it’s coming!), so too, should a government employee be able to use CBD.
Another unfounded claim is that CBD converts to THC in the body when subjected to stomach acid. There was an original study that was able to demonstrate that acid in a lab setting converted THC to CBD but when this was tested in vivo, it was found NOT to occur. In fact, two studies validated that CBD does not convert to THC in your body.
So, the answer to the question is as follows…
If you use CBD and you are a federal employee, it is not allowed at the current time. The 2018 Farm Bill will change this and once signed by the President, you should talk to your office management about its use (because it will not longer be prohibited in any way). If you are currently using CBD for pain/inflammation or other medical uses, ask your employer if a prescription or letter of use from a doctor will suffice, at least until the Farm Bill is fully authorized.
If you are a state employee and it is legal in your state (it is in all 50 right now), you should be okay…but be sure…consult with the HR at your workplace. There’s never any harm with asking.
As far as athletes go, you should be able to contact the governing agency to see where they stand on CBD. Most follow WADA guidelines and this would make the answer obvious.
We look forward to federal legalization of CBD with the 2018 Farm Bill. CBD has tremendous benefits without side effects and it does not have any addictive properties nor does it have any psychoactive effects. We know the ‘powers that be’ have the same and more information than I am privy to and can read the extensive research touting the benefits of CBD without any deleterious effects. We are grateful to the authors of the 2018 Farm Bill and are excited about it because those who benefit from CBD can do so without any concern of job safety or lost time from sport.