With recent changes to federal and state regulations regarding cannabis, it can be confusing for employers who perform drug screening for employees. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has already issued a notice regarding “medical marijuana” use. This clarified that for safety-sensitive employees, a positive drug test result cannot be verified as negative based on a physician recommendation that a patient use “medical marijuana.” Recently, the department also clarified its guidelines for Cannabidiol (CBD) and drug tests.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of the chemical compounds that is found in cannabis plants. The other major component is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the major effects of marijuana. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t result in a “high.”
CBD and Hemp
You may also hear the term “hemp” as it relates to marijuana and CBD. There are two species of the cannabis plant: marijuana and hemp. Whereas marijuana has more THC than CBD, hemp has more CBD and very little THC.
The Legality of CBD
The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) officially clarified the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act so it does not include hemp-derived products with 0.3% THC or less. Any product with a higher level of THC, even if it is labeled as CBD, is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act and is illegal at the federal level, regardless of whether it is legal for medical or recreational use in a specific state.
CBD and Drug Tests for Safety-Sensitive Employees
DOT drug tests screen for marijuana, not CBD. These tests check for the presence of THC metabolites and any level over 50 ng/mL is a positive result. The presence of CBD is not tested.
However, the DOT states that safety-sensitive employees should be cautious when deciding whether or not to use CBD. Labeling can be misleading and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not certify the amount of THC in these products. This means that even if an item claims to be THC-free, it may have enough of the compound to trigger a positive test result.
What Motor Carriers Should Know
Trucking companies should be aware of the DOT guidelines regarding CBD and drug tests and advise their employees accordingly. It is also essential that your medical review officers (MROs) know that a drug test over the designated cut-off for THC metabolites cannot be verified as negative because the employee claims they used CBD. The DOT does not allow safety-sensitive workers to use marijuana under any circumstances. This means that “medical marijuana,” recreational use being legal in the state, or claims of CBD use, are not valid reasons to disregard a positive result.
HDS Safety Services Can Manage Your Drug Testing Program
Maintaining a drug-free workplace helps you avoid expensive fines and helps keep your workers and the public safe. However, it can be difficult to keep track of the most recent changes to DOT regulations. HDS Safety Services stays up-to-date with the latest safety guidelines for motor carriers. This allows you to focus on managing your fleet while knowing that we are handling your drug testing or other safety management services.