FMCSA: Use “Discouraged”

Cannabidiol or CBD Oils, tablets and “gummies” have been a source of concern given that they are a non-intoxicating marijuana extract.  There are medical examiner issues concerning use of CBD products by drivers with a CDL license.  It could also be an issue with a non-CDL driver should they ever be drug tested.

Just to be clear, use of marijuana, prescribed or otherwise is always disqualifying. The only exception would be the driver that has a prescription for Marinol and even then it’s going to be suspect.

Will a driver using a CBD product get a positive for marijuana use (THC) on a DOT drug test?  If you look on the internet, the answer is “they shouldn’t” but FMCSA has clarified that the answer is that “they might”.

CBD does not contain THC, the active ingredient in Marijuana, so it shouldn’t show up as THC in a drug test.  Or at least, it is not supposed to.  The problem is that CBD manufacturers do not guarantee that THC will not be in their products.  Therefore, it is possible for a user of CBD to get a positive drug test result if the CBD product they use had THC in it from the manufacturing process.  This would certainly be more possible if the driver ingests the CBD product.  It is far less likely if they use it topically.

For physical exam determinations, is use of CBD products considered to be “Use” of Marijuana or an illegal substance?  No.  But if there is a positive DOT drug test, the answer is yes, and the driver would be disqualified to drive and required to be evaluated by a DOT Accredited Substance Abuse Profession (SAP), and successfully complete a recovery program (if deemed necessary by the SAP) before being medically qualified to drive.

If a driver indicates they use CBD products on their medical history, the medical examiner should caution the driver about the risk of coming up positive on a drug test.  Rather than disqualify the driver, the medical examiner may want to conduct a Non-DOT drug test.  If the result comes back negative, the CBD product they are using at this time does not likely contain THC and they would be “safe” to drive.  Drivers should know that although the test was negative, there is no guarantee a future batch or another CDB manufacturer might cause a different result.

If a non-DOT drug test is performed and there is a positive result, the driver should be put into determination pending or disqualified until a negative non-DOT drug test is obtained. If THC it is detected in a large quantity, this would be unexpected and would be an indication of true marijuana use.  If detected in a small quantity, it could be from the CBD but there is still no guarantee that true marijuana use wasn’t the cause of the positive result.  Regardless, if a non-DOT drug test comes back positive, do not give the driver a medical certificate until the driver has a negative drug test

Generally speaking, a driver using CBD products can be certified to drive.  It is up to the driver if they want to take the risk but they should be warned.  I’ve suggest in the past for the medical examiner to tell the driver that they should make a choice.  Either use marijuana, or drive a truck.  That might be a little excessive in this case, but it eliminates any future concern.