Obtaining Security Clearance

Beware of Using Marijuana Extracts

More than a year ago, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) added marijuana extracts to its list of Schedule 1 drugs. Schedule 1 drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Cannabidiol (CBD) and CBD oils are considered extracts. These types of products and their use are becoming more and more prevalent. CBD products are used for a variety of purposes, including massage oils, treatments by chiropractors and other wellness providers, and even some beauty products. Be a savvy consumer and check labels to ensure the product you’re using doesn’t contain CBD extracts. Ask massage therapists up front if they are using CBD products in their services.

Many have asked why CBD extracts are considered a Schedule 1 drug when they don’t contain THC. This was determined by the Drug Enforcement Administration who state that even products labeled THC free can contain THC up to 7% depending on the state. The DEA website states: “As the scientific literature indicates, cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), cannabinols (CBN) and cannabidiols (CBD), are found in the parts of the cannabis plant that fall within the CSA definition of marijuana, such as the flowering tops, resin, and leaves.” For those not familiar with some of the street names for marijuana concentrates here are a few: 246; BHO; Badder; Budder; Butter; Dabs; Ear Wax; Errl; Honey Oil; SAP; Shatter; and Wax.

As a reminder, the Federal Government prohibits the use of Schedule 1 drugs, so regardless of state and local laws, federal employees and contractors are prohibited from using them. This is especially true for all of you clearance holders or future applicants.


  1. Timely information, as CBD oils are becoming extremely popular, even among medical and mental health professionals. Even thought the THC levels are low enough to be touted as ‘non-existant’, be aware that they can still be detected by test panels, especially since the oil is very vulnerable to other substances that have an amplifying effect.
    Someone I know well was recommended a CBD oil capsule as a natural anxiety remedy instead of a prescription medicine. This CBD brand was expensive, made from organic hemp, had third party lab confirmation as being pure, etc. and having maximum of 1% THC content.
    A urine drug screen for pre employment showed positive for marijuana. I have zero doubt that this person has never been in contact with marijuana in their lifetime.
    After lots of research, it was determined that another supplement (5-HTP) that was also being taken ‘amplified the body’s’ chemical ‘identity’ of hemp to show as THC containing hemp’.
    Needless to say, even with refuting information, the employer withdrew the offer.

  2. Do clearance investigators know if you have a medical marijuana card if you do not disclose it?

  3. I doubt it but I don’t think that, right now, you can clear while using medical marijuana. It’s still illegal federally. There is no medical exception.

    Failure to disclose this is a valid reason for denial or revocation if discovered.

  4. No, there is no way for them to check. However, I would not be surprised if Continuous Evaluation programs eventually get hooked into State medical marijuana registries to run matches on clearance holders. Even now agencies have select personnel that have access to registries and can run checks when information is gleaned that someone may be using medical marijuana. If you are thinking about not disclosing marijuana use (medical or otherwise) then you probably shouldn’t apply for a federal or contractor position.

  5. A 20 year Fed friend got his mmj card then canceled it a year later once he realized his mistake. Either way, he will be fired. Correct? So, he basically has no other choice otherwise he will lose his job.

  6. I can’t say that he will be fired . . . If he self reported when he “realized” his mistake, he should have a chance to save his job. However, he might have a difficult time convincing anyone who matters that he didn’t realize that what he was doing was a problem. If he didn’t report and is discovered, he’s done.