How Does CannabidioL (CBD) Affect Motor Carriers?

CBD products, which are extracted from hemp or marijuana plants, have grown in popularity in recent years. Currently, each state treats CBD usage differently. This poses a significant risk to motor carriers and truck drivers who are subject to federal drug testing requirements.

WHAT IS CBD?

CBD is extracted from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. CBD may contain the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary psychoactive component in marijuana that creates a “high” effect in users. CBD is commonly sold as an oil, lotion, cream, gummy, or pill for a variety of medical purposes, including treating epileptic seizures, anxiety, muscle and joint pain, depression, migraines, and other ailments.

ARE CBD PRODUCTS LEGAL?

Drivers subject to federal drug testing regulations are responsible for ensuring any CBD products they use are legal. According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), “Any product, including “Cannabidiol” (CBD) products, with a concentration of more than 0.3 percent THC remains classified as marijuana, a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act.”1

Some states, such as Texas, go a step further by declaring any amount of THC to be illegal. Motor carriers and drivers should also be mindful that the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate CBD products. This means that CBD product labels may not accurately reflect the amount of THC in a CBD product.

So, even if a product claims to be 100 percent free of THC, it may still include THC. This puts drivers at risk of testing positive for marijuana if – knowingly or unknowingly – they use a mislabeled CBD product.

CAN CBD SHOW UP AS THC IN A DRUG TEST?

DOT drug tests look for marijuana, not CBD. If a driver uses a CBD product with more than 0.3 percent THC, it will trigger a positive test result for marijuana. Furthermore, 49 CFR Part 40 prohibits the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason.

CBD use is not a legitimate medical explanation for a laboratory-confirmed marijuana positive result. So, despite a driver’s claim of using only CBD, a Medical Review Officer will verify a drug test confirmed at the appropriate cutoffs as positive, then report the positive result to the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP MY DRIVERS AVOID A POSITIVE DRUG TEST?

Communication and training are essential. Educate drivers on the consequences of using mislabeled CBD products. The DOT provides a free employee handbook to help educate employees on the DOT’s drug and alcohol testing program. Click to download the handbook.

CALL TO ACTION

  • Educate all employees on the potential consequences of CBD use. 

  • Comply with the requirements of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

  • Implement a company drug and alcohol testing program, if needed. 

 

Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.


This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds or other  parties, nor does it advise insureds or other parties on employment-related issues, therefore the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds or other parties. Legal advice should always be sought from legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.Reprinted with permission from Great West Casualty Company.

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