Pitfalls of CBD Use Among Commercial Drivers - Safety & Compliance

Pitfalls of CBD Use Amongst Business Drivers – Security & Compliance



Can CBD merchandise result in constructive drug assessments? It is doable. Discover the dangers of CBD use for industrial truck drivers.

Graphic: HDT/Canva by way of Aleksandr Kravtsov


The freeway transportation trade is not any stranger to the longstanding debate on the legalization of marijuana within the U.S. That debate performs instantly into one of many major elements of the safety-related regulatory scheme for freeway motor carriers: drug/alcohol testing for industrial drivers.  

Drivers topic to the Federal Motor Service Security Rules have lengthy been prohibited from utilizing marijuana, regardless of varied states’ efforts to legalize the substance for medicinal and/or leisure use inside their borders. That is well-established.  

However what’s much less so is the influence of CBD use amongst industrial drivers.  

What’s CBD?

It’s primarily a by-product of hemp, a detailed relative to marijuana. Each hemp and marijuana fall into the hashish genus. Hashish vegetation include two compounds: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahedrocannabinol (THC). Whereas each CBD and THC are cannabinoids, solely THC has a psychoactive impact on the human physique. Thus, CBD doesn’t produce the identical “excessive” impact as THC. Each marijuana and hemp include each CBD and THC, however in several quantities. Marijuana incorporates rather more THC, which might result in impairment.  

Typically, hemp-derived CBD merchandise (these containing lower than 0.3% THC) are authorized in most states. As a result of many include little to no THC, they’re usually secure to be used among the many basic inhabitants. Nevertheless, with only a few rules governing these merchandise, producers are usually not being held accountable for guaranteeing their merchandise do, the truth is, include the low ranges of THC they promote. And therein lies the issue, notably for industrial drivers. 

Business Drivers Prohibited from Marijuana Use 

Because it stands, marijuana stays an unlawful Schedule I substance, as labeled underneath the federal Managed Substances Act. That’s regardless of 21 states having made leisure use authorized. 

The stress between federal and state legal guidelines on this subject creates ambiguity. That is notably true given the politicization of the problem. Actually, there have been instantly conflicting enforcement bulletins from the federal Drug Enforcement Company, relying on which political occasion occurs to be in workplace on the time. 

The U.S. Division of Transportation has remained steadfast in its assertion that federally regulated transportation workers (together with industrial drivers) stay prohibited from utilizing marijuana whereas that substance stays unlawful on the federal degree. In 2017, the USDOT’s Workplace of Drug and Alcohol Coverage posted the next discover, which stays in impact to today: 

Not too long ago, some states handed initiatives to allow use of marijuana for so-called “leisure” functions. Now we have had a number of inquiries about whether or not these state initiatives will have an effect upon the Division of Transportation’s longstanding regulation about the usage of marijuana by security‐delicate transportation workers … We need to make it completely clear that the state initiatives may have no bearing on the Division of Transportation’s regulated drug testing program. The Division of Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation — 49 CFR Half 40 — doesn’t authorize the usage of Schedule I medication, together with marijuana, for any purpose. Due to this fact, Medical Overview Officers (MROs) won’t confirm a drug check as unfavourable based mostly upon studying that the worker used “leisure marijuana” when states have handed “leisure marijuana” initiatives. We additionally firmly reiterate that an MRO won’t confirm a drug check unfavourable based mostly upon data {that a} doctor really helpful that the worker use “medical marijuana” when states have handed “medical marijuana” initiatives. 

So, regardless of state legalization of marijuana, the substance stays unlawful to be used amongst these topic to the federal drug/alcohol testing rules, together with these with industrial drivers licenses. CDL drivers who check constructive for marijuana will likely be prohibited from performing a safety-sensitive operate, together with driving, until and till they full the return-to-duty course of.  

Because it seems, it is a main drawback for the trade. 

In keeping with current information from the federal Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, a complete of 101,512 constructive drug assessments stemming from marijuana use have been reported to the Clearinghouse since its inception in early 2020. Constructive assessments from marijuana use far outpace constructive outcomes from all different illicit substances mixed. What’s extra, 120,345 industrial drivers stay in “prohibited standing” on account of a drug or alcohol violation, that means they’re unable to function a industrial car in commerce. 

However what about non-CDL drivers (these working smaller automobiles in interstate commerce)? Even drivers who aren’t topic to DOT drug/alcohol testing guidelines are nonetheless prohibited from utilizing marijuana by advantage of the bodily qualification necessities in Half 391 of the FMCSRs. Certainly, 49 CFR 391.41(b)(12) supplies {that a} industrial driver is simply certified to function a industrial car if he/she doesn’t use any Schedule I drug, which, once more, consists of marijuana. Thus, any non-CDL drivers who use marijuana are technically not medically certified to function a industrial motorcar.  

Can CBD Merchandise Result in Constructive Drug Assessments? 

As a result of hemp and marijuana each include CBD and THC, it is doable for a person to check constructive for marijuana (i.e., THC) on a drug check after utilizing a CBD product if the THC focus is excessive sufficient to exceed the relevant cutoffs (50 ng/mL for preliminary cutoff and 15 ng/mL for confirmatory). 

CBD producers typically promote their merchandise as containing no or little or no THC. The issue is that there’s just about no regulation on the manufacture and sale of CBD merchandise. Which means there aren’t any actual regulatory penalties for producers who falsely declare their merchandise include little to no THC.  

The USDOT’s Workplace of Drug and Alcohol Coverage says it’s vital for all employers and safety-sensitive workers topic to drug testing to know: 

  1. The Division of Transportation requires testing for marijuana and never CBD. 
  2. The labeling of many CBD merchandise could also be deceptive as a result of the merchandise might include increased ranges of THC than what the product label states.  
  3. The Division of Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation, Half 40, doesn’t authorize the usage of Schedule I medication, together with marijuana, for any purpose. Moreover, CBD use just isn’t a professional medical rationalization for a laboratory-confirmed marijuana-positive end result. Due to this fact, Medical Overview Officers will confirm a drug check confirmed on the acceptable cutoffs as constructive, even when an worker claims they solely used a CBD product. 





It stays unacceptable for any safety-sensitive worker topic to the Division of Transportation’s drug testing rules to make use of marijuana. Since the usage of CBD merchandise might result in a constructive drug check end result, DOT-regulated safety-sensitive workers ought to train warning when contemplating whether or not to make use of CBD merchandise. 




Regardless of this steerage, Trucksafe Consulting has witnessed many instances of business drivers testing constructive for marijuana after utilizing a CBD product that was labeled as having little to no THC.  

For instance, an Illinois-based truck driver not too long ago filed a class-action lawsuit in opposition to the producer of CBD edibles as a result of he examined constructive for marijuana after consuming these edibles. The label for these edibles indicated the product contained “no THC.” The motive force, who had labored for 10 years with out a constructive drug check, subsequently examined constructive and was, subsequently, prohibited from working a industrial motorcar.  

What are the Dangers of CBD Use for Truck Drivers?

The results of a constructive drug check are extreme. Till the FDA or different businesses tighten their rules on CBD merchandise, the danger of testing constructive for marijuana after utilizing CBD merchandise is actual. Accordingly, industrial drivers and motor carriers have to tread frivolously on this space in the interim. Many carriers have applied insurance policies prohibiting their drivers from utilizing CBD merchandise due to this concern.  



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