While CBD has been hailed treatment for various ailments, for truck drivers use remains a risky bet — a good way to fail a drug test, threatening your livelihood. Products containing CBD have become exceedingly popular and readily available at truck stops and convenience stores across the country. CBD is extracted from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. CBD may contain the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That’s the main psychoactive component in marijuana that gives users a high.
Can truck drivers use CBD? All you need to know about cannabis, hemp, testing and the clearinghouse
Across the country, more and more states are decriminalizing and outright legalizing marijuana, and meanwhile CBD, an extract of industrial hemp plants, a legal cousin to marijuana, has emerged as an effective treatment for everything from chronic pain to anxiety and sleep disorders.
But despite the warming national attitudes toward the hemp plant and all its potential derivatives, CDL holders should approach any form of the substance with extreme caution.
Overdrive revisited a column in our Trucking Law series, written by Dr. Alexander Underwood, in this video to go over what drivers need to know about CBD, THC, and keeping their CDLs – the landscape for hemp/cannabis-derived products has only gotten more chaotic, and murky in terms of legality, since that column originally aired.
A barrage of consumer products have swept through gas stations and truck stops across the country. Recently, savvy businesspeople have started selling so-called Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC, or concentrated THC derived from fully legal hemp plants.
These products exploit the federal loophole that deems industrial hemp byproducts legal but plants grown for THC illegal. While these products remain legal, for now, they too will cause a failed drug test as the Delta-8 and Delta-10 compounds produce the same metabolites as Delta-9, plain-old THC-bearing marijuana, the kind that’s federally illegal.
Amid the madness in the market for cannabis products and the ample confusion, an untold number of truckers have had their careers sidelined due to positive drug tests for THC.
From January 6, 2020 to June 1, 2021, 80,098 urine drug tests administered under the mandatory federal program for CDL drivers came back positive. More than half of those tests found marijuana.
The video tracks the legality of different products and states the official DOT position on CBD.
Above, find what you need to know about the intersection of marijuana, CBD, and trucking law. –Video Editor Andrew Guinn contributed to this report
Can Truck Drivers Use CBD?
In some states its legal; in other states its not: Marijuana. But the baby brother, CBD, is pretty much available most everywhere.
Products containing CBD have become exceedingly popular and readily available at truck stops and convenience stores across the country.
CBD is extracted from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. CBD may contain the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That’s the main psychoactive component in marijuana that gives users a high.
CBD is frequently sold in oil, cream, lotion, gummy, or pill form. It’s said to help a number of medical maladies, such as epileptic seizures, anxiety, muscle and joint pain, depression, and migraines.
These products are legal under federal law in the U.S., so truck drivers can use them. However, CBD products can pose a risk to motor carriers and semi truck drivers who are subject to federal drug testing requirements.
Can Truck Drivers Use CBD Safely?
Yes, in most instances, and in most states (see Georgia’s requirements below). CBD oil is believed to be safe to use, and even if you buy a full-spectrum CBD product that contains trace amounts of THC, it shouldn’t have an intoxicating effect when you use it. (Remember, we are a Georgia personal injury law firm we are not doctors so don’t rely on us to make your CBD purchasing decisions!)
However, some CBD users say they experience side-effects like drowsiness or sleepiness. Truck drivers who have similar experiences shouldn’t operate a tractor-trailer while uses these products. If a trucker uses CBD and becomes drowsy or inattentive to the road, this may play a part in a motor vehicle accident—similar to driving under the influence. And it may be evidence of negligence.
Semi Drivers Must Comply with Federal Drug Testing Regulations
Semi drivers must comply with federal drug testing regulations. In fact, the Department of Transportation (DOT) states that any product, including “Cannabidiol” (CBD) products, with a concentration of more than 0.3 percent THC is classified as marijuana, a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act.
Motor carriers and big rig drivers should also note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate CBD products. As a result, a CBD product label may not accurately reflect the amount of THC that’s in the product. This means that even if a product says it’s 100% free of THC, it may still have THC in it. This puts truck drivers at risk of testing positive for marijuana if they knowingly or unknowingly use a mislabeled CBD product. They also may experience side effects that affect their driving ability. Having a good trustworthy Atlanta accident lawyer who knows the rules is so important in any truck accident case.
Will CBD Result in a Positive for THC in a Drug Test?
DOT drug tests test for marijuana, not CBD. So if a semi driver uses a CBD product with more than 0.3 percent THC, he or she will test positive for marijuana, and the federal regulations prohibit the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason. In addition, CBD use is not a legitimate medical explanation for a laboratory-confirmed marijuana positive result.
Thus, even when a tractor-trailer driver says he or she has used only CBD, a Medical Review Officer will verify a drug test confirmed at the appropriate limits as positive. The driver’s positive result is then reported to the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.
How Does the State of Georgia Regulate CBD Products?
Georgia allows only CBD and low THC products, but there are some qualifications. In Georgia, an individual may legally possess cannabis-derived CBD oil containing not more than 5% THC. Plus, they must have been diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition and have a registration card. This card shows that the person is registered in the state’s Low THC Oil Registry.
A truck driver or any other person in Georgia is required to consult with a doctor and be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition to use CBD. The diseases and conditions that qualify include cancer, seizures or epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, intractable pain, and others. So you can see that the state’s requirements severely limit the use of CBD and low THC products in Georgia.
Remember that truck drivers must pass a physical examination, and those with disqualifying conditions should not be on the road. Again, Georgia law significantly restricts the use of CBD and low THC products. If a trucking company fails to address a driver’s medical condition, doesn’t monitor the driver’s health, or allows the illegal use of CBD, the trucking company may be liable in a serious accident.
Contact Tobin Injury Law
If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi accident, you should work with an experienced Atlanta truck accident attorney Atlanta residents have come to for help. Our team understands state and federal commercial carrier laws and we have represented hundreds of auto drivers and motorcyclists who have been hurt because of the negligence of a truck driver. We will investigate the driver’s condition to determine if he or she had a serious health issue that contributed to your accident. This may include the use of CBD.
Before you speak with a claims adjuster from an insurance company, contact an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer at Tobin Injury Law.