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DOT Issues Warning to Truckers About Using CBD Oil

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance has strongly cautioned truck drivers and other safety-sensitive employees subject to federal drug testing under 49 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) part 40 about the use of CBD oil and other “cannabidiol” products.

Even though a recently enacted law removed hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana itself remains a Schedule 1 drug and its use can trigger a positive drug test result, with disqualifying penalties to the user.

By the new law’s definition, hemp-derived products, such as CBD oil and associated products can legally contain a concentration of up to 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. The problem? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not currently certify the levels of THC in those products, despite what the product labels may claim. So, it is buyer beware! Above the 0.3% THC concentration, the product is legally marijuana, a Schedule I drug.

FDA has expressly stated “It is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement.” In addition, under USDOT drug testing regulations, no use of marijuana is authorized. Therefore, if a drug test confirms the presence of marijuana at the appropriate cut-off level, a claim that only CBD was used, that it was legally obtained and was needed for medical reasons will not stand.

The issue is not whether CBD may relieve pain, help sleep or any dietary or medical purpose. It is the THC concentration present in the product and reflected in the drug test. Again, buyer beware.

The USDOT notice makes it clear that federal drug tests are not out there looking for CBD. The tests are looking for marijuana and other Schedule 1 drugs. But caution is needed when considering whether to use CBD products.

Now may be a good time to refresh your memory about drug testing. PrePass has written extensively on the issue. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has just increased the random drug test rate, in part because of the spreading legalization of medical and recreational marijuana. So by random test rate, it is more likely a truck driver will be tested. The drug test procedures themselves may be expanded in the near future and as of January 6, 2020, all drug test results are reported to the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, where avoiding scrutiny becomes more difficult.

The bottom line is that the USDOT advises using CBD may be taking a chance with one’s livelihood. Is it a chance worth taking?

The U.S. DOT has strongly cautioned truck drivers about the use of CBD oil and other “cannabidiol” products when it comes to drug testing.

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Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance

1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington , DC 20590
United States

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 202-366-3784
Alt Phone: 800-225-3784
Fax: 202-366-3897

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:

  1. The Department of Transportation requires testing for marijuana and not CBD.
  2. 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]
  3. 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