CBD Oils: Beware of DOT Testing Violation
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is growing in popularity as people continue to use it as a natural alternative to pain medication.
However, some industry experts are warning commercial truck drivers that use CBD oil to treat aches and pains. Even if derived from hemp, a variation of Cannabis Sativa with a very low concentration of THS, a driver using the oil could test positive in a DOT drug test.
Types of Cannabis Sativa
Cannabis is a family of plants with two primary classifications — Indica and Sativa. While marijuana can be considered a member of either the Indica or Sativa families, Hemp is a member of the Cannabis Sativa family. Both strains – Hemp and Marijuana – can produce CBD oil.
Each genetic variation was created for specific reasons:
- Hemp: Bred for a number of things including oils and nutritional benefits (0.3% THC concentration)
- Marijuana: Bred for the production of THC in its flowers and leaves (5-30% THC concentration)
Looking at THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) concentrations alone, some may assume that only marijuana-based CBD oil has the potential to show up in a DOT drug panel. But even hemp-derived CBD oils can register at a level that is considered a DOT drug testing violation.
The use of THC is forbidden for a regulated driver, no matter the source, which means medical and recreational marijuana and some CBD oils, even if legal under state law, are federally banned.
Since THC is an absolute under DOT drug testing, a medical review officer (MRO) must not take the medicinal use of a CBD oil into consideration as he or she determines a drug test result.
All CMV operators requiring a CDL, including owner-operators are required to participate in a DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing Program.
Under DOT Regulations, a positive drug test result requires the motor carrier to remove the driver from safety-sensitive functions until specific steps in the DOT return-to-duty process are successfully completed.
After a positive test, the driver must:
- Be evaluated by a substance abuse professional,
- Complete prescribed treatment, and
- Have negative results for follow-up testing before they can operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV)
The Bottom Line
An owner-operator/truck driver’s career may be on the line if a drug screen comes back positive.
It’s important to remember the following when it comes to CBD oil:
- Trace amounts of THC may show up in a DOT urine specimen.
- MROs will not accept CBD oil as a valid medical explanation for a positive DOT drug test.
- Enforcement may consider CBD oil in a commercial vehicle as possession. Officers are unable to determine the concentration of THC in the oil, and there has been no official guidance for them to follow.
- Labels can be misleading. Packaging for CBD oil may claim to be THC-free or below traceable limits, when in fact, they contain enough to be detected during a drug screen.
- CBD oils sold in states with legalized marijuana may have been processed from the marijuana plant, resulting in a higher concentration of THC.
The bottom line, any CBD or THC use is a violation waiting to happen.Some industry experts are warning commercial truck drivers that use CBD oil to treat aches and pains as they could test positive in a DOT drug test.
In This Section
Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington , DC 20590
Email: [email protected]
Alt Phone: 800-225-3784
DOT “CBD” Notice
DOT OFFICE OF DRUG AND ALCOHOL POLICY AND COMPLIANCE NOTICE
The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-334, (Farm Bill) removed hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. Under the Farm Bill, hemp-derived products containing a concentration of up to 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are not controlled substances. THC is the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. Any product, including “Cannabidiol” (CBD) products, with a concentration of more than 0.3% THC remains classified as marijuana, a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act.
We have had inquiries about whether the Department of Transportation-regulated safety-sensitive employees can use CBD products. Safety-sensitive employees who are subject to drug testing specified under 49 CFR part 40 (Part 40) include: pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, train engineers, transit vehicle operators, aircraft maintenance personnel, fire-armed transit security personnel, ship captains, and pipeline emergency response personnel, among others.
It is important for all employers and safety-sensitive employees to know:
- The Department of Transportation requires testing for marijuana and not CBD.
- The labeling of many CBD products may be misleading because the products could contain higher levels of THC than what the product label states. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not currently certify the levels of THC in CBD products, so there is no Federal oversight to ensure that the labels are accurate. The FDA has cautioned the public that: “Consumers should beware purchasing and using any [CBD] products.” The FDA has stated: “It is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement.”* Also, the FDA has issued several warning letters to companies because their products contained more CBD than indicated on the product label. **[i]
- The Department of Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation, Part 40, does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason. Furthermore, CBD use is not a legitimate medical explanation for a laboratory-confirmed marijuana positive result. Therefore, Medical Review Officers will verify a drug test confirmed at the appropriate cutoffs as positive, even if an employee claims they only used a CBD product.
It remains unacceptable for any safety-sensitive employee subject to the Department of Transportation’s drug testing regulations to use marijuana. Since the use of CBD products could lead to a positive drug test result, Department of Transportation-regulated safety-sensitive employees should exercise caution when considering whether to use CBD products.
The contents of this document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies. This policy and compliance notice is not legally binding in its own right and will not be relied upon by the Department as a separate basis for affirmative enforcement action or other administrative penalty. Conformity with this policy and compliance notice is voluntary only and nonconformity will not affect rights and obligations under existing statutes and regulations. Safety-sensitive employees must continue to comply with the underlying regulatory requirements for drug testing, specified at 49 CFR part 40.DOT OFFICE OF DRUG AND ALCOHOL POLICY AND COMPLIANCE NOTICE ]]>