CBD is the short form for cannabidiol. It is a product derived from the plants belonging to the Cannabis Sativa species.
Many clinical studies have shown favorable results of CBD products in treating several medical conditions. For this reason, truck drivers look towards these products as an alternative medication in treating their ailments.
However, they always have an apprehension of failing in the drug test. And for this reason, they wonder if they can use CBD or not.
CBD, THC, and Marijuana
The apprehension of failing the drug test is mainly because of its association with Marijuana and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
As mentioned above CBD is an extract of either Hemp or Marijuana plants. Now, both these plants contain CBD as well THC.
The difference lies in the concentration of both the compounds in the two plants.
The Hemp plants are industrially grown plants to extract CBD. They have a very high content of CBD with very low levels of THC in them.
The federal government in the US has legalized CBD products derived from the hemp plant containing less than 0.3% THC.
However, the legal status of CBD products derived from hemp plants is different in different parts of the country. Some states have legalized these products while others have not yet enacted the federal level law in their states.
On the other hand, the marijuana plant is primarily used in extracting Marijuana that is a popular compound used for recreational purposes.
It is illegal to use Marijuana in most of the states across the US for recreational purposes.
It is because of the psychoactive effects of Marijuana use. The high level of THC present in Marijuana is responsible for ‘getting high’.
However, the positive effects of Marijuana use have helped in allowing it as medical marijuana under strict conditions.
You can use medical marijuana after obtaining a medical marijuana card on the recommendation of an authorized medical doctor. However, you cannot drive under the influence of medical marijuana.
The THC content in CBD extracts
Apart from CBD and THC, there are many other compounds present in the cannabis plant. They include terpenes, photochemical, and phenolics, etc.
The quantum of different compounds in the CBD extract depends on the method of CBD extraction. There are three different types of CBD extracts derived through these methods.
- Full-spectrum CBD
- Broad Spectrum CBD, and
- CBD isolates
The full-spectrum CBD extract has all the compounds present in the plant along with CBD. On one hand, it makes the extract more effective; on the other hand, it also transfers the content of THC in the final extract.
So, using the Marijuana plant for extracting full-spectrum CBD would impart a very high concentration of THC in the final product. It can range from 5-30% depending on the content of THC in the plant.
However, using the Hemp plant for extracting full-spectrum CBD would transfer less than 0.3% of THC levels in the final product.
The broad-spectrum CBD extraction process excludes THC during the extraction. So, it does not have any traces of THC in it. However, it contains other compounds like terpenes and photochemical, etc.
While extracting CBD Isolates, only CBD contents of the plant are extracted and therefore, CBD isolates do not contain any traces of THC in them.
Why are Truck Drivers inclined to use CBD?
Truck drivers, due to their nature of the job, often suffer from one or more such ailments. Traditional medicines in many cases do not provide proper relief from the ailments rather at times they can have many harmful side effects.
Hence, many truck drivers find CBD products an effective and safer alternative to medication and get inclined towards it. Moreover, with the relaxation of the law for hemp-based CBD products, they find it easier to consume these products without having any legal hassles.
Some truck drivers also undergo treatment by using medical marijuana following the applicable federal law.
However, there is another side of the story as well. Many truck drivers use some intoxicating substances while driving. By taking shelter of the law related to hemp-based CBD products they consume marijuana for recreational purposes.
Now, with this important and relevant information, let’s take up our main question.
Can truck drivers use CBD Oil?
The answer is not a simple yes or no. It hangs between the two ends.
Let us first understand the benefits of using CBD. Well, it is simple. It can relieve you from your ailments without having any side effects.
Now, let us understand the risks associated with consuming CBD.
We will quickly put together some of the important facts related to CBD products to evaluate the risks.
- It is not legal to extract CBD from Marijuana plants for recreational purposes in most of the states.
- However, the production and consumption of medical marijuana are allowable in specific conditions.
- The US federal government law has not legalized any activity related to cannabidiol i.e. CBD per se.
- The US federal government has legalized CBD products made from hemp-extract CBD with less than 0.3% THC.
- Some of the states have enacted federal level bill and have legalized hemp-based CBD products with less than 0.3% THC levels.
- Many of the states have yet not enacted the above law.
- It is illegal to consume any CBD product with more than 0.3% THC level irrespective of the plant source.
- The FDA does not approve of any CBD product except Epidiolex used for treating seizures.
- The US Department of Transportation (DOT) does not permit anyone to drive under the influence of more than 0.3% of THC.
Using Medical Marijuana CBD
So, let us first consider that you have a Medical Marijuana Card and you are undergoing treatment through medical marijuana. It would have THC levels above 0.3%.
In case you are selected for sampling by DOT for a drug screening, in all probability, you would test positive.
And keep in mind that despite having the medical marijuana card you would not be verified negative on drug tests. Further, the use of medical marijuana while driving is not legally allowed.
Using Hemp-derived CBD
Now, let us consider that you consume CBD products with less than 0.3% THC level.
In case you go through the drug screening by the DOT, there are 2 possible outcomes:
- The first probability is that you will have negative drug test results for THC levels. In such a case, congratulations, you are through with it. However, there is a slight catch here.
Even though your drug test is negative, if you are found carrying CBD product with you then again there are two possibilities
- If you are in a state where carrying and consuming CBD products is legal, in that case, you can walk back safely.
- However, if you are traveling in a state where carrying and consuming CBD products are not legal then you will have a problem here.
The state can initiate action against you for carrying prohibitory products within their territory.
- The second probability is that you will fail the drug test. Now, you are in all troubles.
How can you fail the drug test with Hemp CBD?
Now, you would be amused how despite consuming CBD products with less than 0.3% THC levels you could be tested positive in a drug test.
Well, there is only one condition that you can fail the drug test. Yes, if the THC levels in your sample are above 0.3%.
And it is not rare to observe such cases where truck drivers with CBD products having less than 0.3% THC levels also fail the drug test.
So, the valid question is how is it possible?
There could be any of the three possibilities:
- If you have consumed a high quantity of CBD in a day. It can transmit more amount of THC in your sample.
Consuming more than 1 gram CBD in a day can be one of the reasons for showing positive test results.
- The CBD product that you are using can have higher levels of THC than claimed. You do not have any way to check the actual THC levels of your CBD product.
Besides, the manufacturer might be all genuine but during production, all the batches may not have consistent THC levels.
There may be a chance of you consuming the CBD product with the batch having high THC content.
Repercussions of Testing Positive
A positive drug test result would disqualify you to drive. You will have to appear before a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) for evaluation.
If deemed necessary, SAP would direct you to attend a recovery program. On completing the recovery program SAP would reevaluate you.
You would be qualified to drive only if you are found medically fit to drive again.
There is another serious repercussion of failing the drug test. Recently, the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse has started preparing a database of all the disqualifying drivers.
The data of the disqualified truck drivers would also be available for viewing to other employers in the industry.
And as the data of the truck driver gets registered in the database, it would be really difficult for a truck driver to get a new job as the future employer may not want to recruit a driver with the bloated record.
Last but not the least, if you are carrying the CBD product with you, the state may also penalize you as per the applicable state rule.
What are the options with truck drivers?
Truck drivers should take a few precautions while on CBD supplement:
- Inform your employer if you are on any such medication. Though this would not protect you from the DOT penalties yet it wouldn’t at least trouble your relations with the employer.
- Disclose about your being on CBD supplement or medical marijuana to the testing authorities as soon as you receive notice for the random drug test from the DOT.
- Be aware of the rules related to transporting and consuming CBD products prevailing in the state you are traveling in and through. Do not carry or consume them in those states.
- Buy CBD products from the reputed sellers only.
- Do not consume more than 100-150 gm of CBD in a day.
Having gone through all the relevant information about CBD you would have got the answer to the question, “Can truck drivers use CBD?”
You might have realized that there is no straight answer to this.
Yet, there are many factors that you need to consider before finally deciding whether you, as a truck driver, should use CBD products or not.
You will have to weigh the risk of using CBD against the benefits it offers before making the final decision.