On Feb. 18, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a formal warning regarding the use of cannabidiol (CBD) products.
The DOT’s announcement pertains to department-regulated safety-sensitive employees and the use of CBD products. The warning aimed to clarify three different points regarding current regulations and these employees:
- 1. The DOT requires testing for marijuana, but not CBD products.
- 2. CBD products may be mislabeled and contain higher concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than is disclosed. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not currently certify the levels of THC in CBD products. As such, there is no federal oversight to ensure the accuracy of labels.
- 3. Using CBD products, even if the user was misled regarding the amount of THC in them, is not a valid medical explanation for an employee to have tested positive for marijuana.
Safety-sensitive employees who are subject to drug testing include, but are not limited to: pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, train engineers, transit vehicle operators, aircraft maintenance personnel, fire-armed transit security personnel, ship captains and pipeline emergency response personnel.
The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the Farm Bill, removed hemp from the definition of marijuana as it pertains to being a controlled substance. The bill classified these uncontrolled hemp-derived products as being allowed to contain a THC concentration of up to 0.3%. Substances that contained a concentration greater than 0.3% are still classified as marijuana and therefore remain a controlled substance.
Safety-sensitive employees are still not allowed to use marijuana in any capacity. CBD products with a THC concentration of less than 0.3% may not technically be classified as marijuana anymore, but employees should still be mindful that the use of CBD could lead to a positive test result. As such, safety-sensitive employees should be mindful and take precautions when considering using CBD products.
Click here to read the U.S. DOT’s bulletin on the subject.