Buyer Beware With CBD Oils, DOT Says

by Jeana Hysell, on Feb 21, 2020 11:06:00 AM


Commercial drivers “should exercise caution” when deciding whether to use CBD oil, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced. 

Products containing the hemp-derived substance known as cannabidiol have grown in popularity nationwide since 2018 when Congress decided hemp should be treated as an agricultural commodity rather than as marijuana. 

However, any hemp product with a concentration of more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the main psychoactive component of marijuana — is treated as a Schedule I substance. This means it cannot legally be prescribed and cannot be used by any safety-sensitive employees, including commercial drivers. 

THC content is often unknown.

The problem with CBD oils is that there is little government oversight or testing to determine just how much THC they contain. Though some states allow use of marijuana and other products with a high THC content, such products remain prohibited under federal law. 

Though the DOT tests for the use of marijuana and not hemp, a truck or bus driver who uses a substance with a high THC content will fail a DOT drug test. The consequences will be the same whether the driver purposefully smoked marijuana or inadvertently used a CBD oil containing a high concentration of THC. 

Therefore, “buyer beware” with CBD products. 

The labeling of such products may be misleading, the DOT says, because they 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. 

Inform your drivers of the risks.

Drivers should be aware of the risks inherent in taking any product containing CBD, even when the label says the THC content is 0.3% or less. As harmless as some products may seem, avoiding all CBD products may be the only way to ensure that a driver won’t inadvertently fail his or her next drug test and need to be taken off the road and reported to the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. 

More information about CBD is available from the FDA at Warning letters from the FDA concerning specific CBD products are available at

Key to Remember: The DOT has issued new warnings about the use of CBD oils by commercial drivers. Any product that contains enough THC will result in a positive drug test, no matter the source, so drivers should avoid using products containing CBD.

Topics:SafetyIndustry NewsHealth and Wellness

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