CBD in the Trucking Industry
In November of 2012 the first two states, Colorado and Washington, legalizing recreational use for adults. Since then, 22 states have legalized marijuana recreationally and 38 states have legalized marijuana medically.
Due to the mass legalization, popularity of medicinal marijuana-related products has surged, specifically CBD. There are many benefits that can come from using CBD products medicinally, and this has many people very interested. Truck drivers may be thinking of trying CBD products for relief, but before truckers turn to these products they should know the facts.
So, your big question is probably, “can CDL drivers use CBD?” The answer depends on if you think it’s worth the risk. CDL drivers are enrolled in a randomized drug and alcohol testing program, and you while CBD isn't one of the tested substances it often causes drivers to pop positive for marijuana (THC). Before you make the decision for yourself there are a few things you should know.
There are over 113 cannabinoid compounds in the cannabis plant, the most well-known cannabinoids being CBD and THC. THC is the psychoactive agent in marijuana that produces the euphoric sense or "high" that people feel when using it. As mentioned above, THC is one of the tested substances in DOT drug tests and will lead to a positive result if detected. CBD on the other hand is a non-psychoactive compound that doesn't result in a "high" when used.
Most CBD users say that while using CBD they feel more relaxed and it is often used to help relieve anxiety, muscle and joint pain, depression, migraines, and other ailments very common to truck drivers. Despite the claims of benefits, CBD products haven’t been regulated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Essentially, for the general public, this means use at your own risk. For truck drivers, there is a whole other set of risks.
As previously mentioned, many drivers have tested positive for THC in their DOT Drug Test and claimed that they were just using CBD. Many CBD products claim to be pure CBD or THC free, however if you talk to any cannabis expert they will tell you that CBD products need to have a small amount of the active THC cannabinoid for the CBD to work properly.
In fact, many CBD products companies will state disclaimers like, “We cannot make any claims on whether or not any of our products will show up on a drug test. We are not legally able to make any recommendations or guarantees regarding drug tests on THC free or full spectrum products.”
Similar to the recreational and medicinal THC products, there are many CBD products that are available to the public. These products include gummies, oils, drinks, lotions, bath products and many more. CBD oil is made by extracting the compound from either hemp or marijuana plants. These products of course contain CBD, but often other cannabinoids as well, like small amounts of THC.
It is required by most states require that commercial CBD products contain less than 0.3% THC. I know that seems like such a small amount of THC it won't affect you, and while it won't affect you by giving you the "high" that is associated with THC, even the smallest amount can be detected during a drug test.
Due to the lack of regulation, there is no guarantee that the CBD products you are using are entirely CBD. Basically, this means “buyer beware” and especially if you have a job like trucking, where you’re regularly tested for THC.
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Even though marijuana and its derived products are becoming legalized in more and more states and may be legal in yours, remember it’s still illegal on the federal level. All federal drug tests, like DOT tests, are reported as positive and due to the recent Clearinghouse regulations, these results will be available to employers.
Clearinghouse reports have shown a major increase in the number of positive tests for THC, some of this could be linked to CBD use or just the widespread of legalization across the United States. Remember, even if recreational or medical marijuana use is legal in your state that doesn't mean it is okay for you and other drivers you work with. If you are an active CDL driver you are enrolled in a randomized testing pool you will be tested for THC.
At the end of the day, the choice to use CBD products is yours and yours alone, but make sure you are aware of the risks involved with it. There is a possibility that a driver could use CBD products for their entire trucking career and never have a positive drug test, but due to the lack of regulation in CBD products the likelihood is slim. No matter the benefits that CBD products could provide, is using it really worth risking your career? Drivers looking to use CBD products for pain relief should research other options.
Every year there are additional states legalizing marijuana and CBD products, so there is a possibility of all forms of marijuana products to be federally legalized. However, there is no timeline on that possibility and shouldn't be counted on. Now, whether or not marijuana gets federally legalized or not, your employer can still choose to test for it which would then continue to prohibit use for you and other drivers under their employment.
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