DOT Issues Statement on Use of CBD Products

Lindsey Bergeron

The FDA has cautioned the public that: ‘Consumers should beware purchasing and using any [CBD] products.’

The Department of Transportation issued a statement last week to clarify their position on the use of “Cannabidiol” (CBD) products by safety-sensitive employees. This clarification was prompted by the Farm Bill of 2018, which removed hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.  It also states that as long as a hemp-derived product (such as CBD) has less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it is not a controlled substance.

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The confusion, is whether safety-sensitive employees such as truck drivers, bus drivers, transit vehicle operators or pilots can safely use CBD products while enrolled in a federal drug and alcohol testing program. The answer, is that while CBD products that fall under the THC threshold aren’t technically a controlled substance, it’s in the employee’s best interest to avoid them entirely as many contain higher levels of THC than the label indicates.

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“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 DOT noted. “The FDA has cautioned the public that: ‘Consumers should beware purchasing and using any [CBD] products.’”

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The DOT went on to note that the FDA has already issued several warning letters to companies because the amount of CBD in their products was higher than indicated on the product label. If a safety-sensitive employee happened to use one of these products, for example, and then was called for a random drug test, they could end up with a positive drug test result. Because CBD is not a “legitimate medical explanation” for a confirmed positive marijuana result, it would result in the employee being pulled from safety-sensitive functions until the return-to-duty has been complete.

About the Author

Lindsey Bergeron is Editor of the Foley blog. Serving as transportation guru, she keeps an eye on the industry and its day-to-day evolution and developments, specifically writing about the various lifestyle, business and regulatory topics that are most relevant to motor carriers. Holding a degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Connecticut, she ran a successful content marketing firm before joining Foley at its Hartford hub. Her current expertise in transportation writing is built upon an extensive background in editing, feature writing and content development.

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