Use Can Lead to Positive Marijuana Test
Can federally regulated truck drivers safely and legally use Cannabidiol (CBD) products? The simple answer is “No.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have made it clear that commercial drivers who use CBD products may test positive for marijuana, which would likely lead to job loss. DOT issued a “CBD Notice” in February 2020 explaining that “it remains unacceptable for any safety-sensitive employee subject to the Department of Transportation’s drug testing regulations to use marijuana.”
Nevertheless, some confusion remains about the legality of using CBD, which has been touted as a natural supplement used for many ailments, including pain management. CBD is a chemical compound from the Cannabis sativa plant – also known as marijuana or hemp, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Inconsistent Labeling Cause for Concern
While the 2018 Farm Bill (The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-334) made it legal to sell hemp and hemp products in the U.S., not all hemp-derived CBD products are legal. According to the Farm Bill, hemp-derived products containing a concentration of up to 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are not controlled substances. However, any CBD product with a concentration of more than 0.3% THC remains classified as marijuana, a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, according to DOT.
Because CBD products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there have been reports of wide-spread inconsistency when stating the amount of CBD listed on product labels. That unpredictability has caused issues for commercial truck drivers.
Doug Horn, a 30-year veteran driver, provides a good case in point. Horn, who hurt his hip and shoulder in a February 2012 vehicle crash, used CBD oil to help alleviate his pain. He tested positive for marijuana in a random drug test and was fired from his job of 10 years as a hazmat truck driver, according to a Transport Topics article. The CBD product he had used was labeled THC-free, but it clearly wasn’t.
“If a driver uses a CBD product that includes more than 0.3% THC, standard drug tests will likely produce a positive result for marijuana,” said to Tim Thoelecke Jr., founder of InOut Labs, a nationwide medical testing lab providing world-class drug testing and wellness testing services.
A positive drug test is posted to the FMCSA Clearinghouse.
He explained that there are several ways to test for marijuana use, including a urine test and a 5- or 10-panel drug test. Typically, saliva samples collected with mouth swabs are best for detecting recent Marijuana use while long-term Marijuana use is generally tested through a hair sample, Thoelecke added.
The bottom line: If you’re a federally-regulated commercial truck driver, it’s best to steer clear of CBD products than to chance losing your job by testing positive for marijuana use.
If you are a carrier employing commercial truck drivers, make sure your policies are clear and up-to-date regarding the U.S. DOT and FMCSA regulations, which include providing educational materials for drivers and training for supervisors prior to the start of testing.
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