Drug Testing Screenings DOT

DOT recommends against CBD oil

We have been posting on CBD oil for quite some time, and our CEO strongly recommends against its use for those who will be subjected to safety-sensitive drug testing. The lack of regulation is key to understanding this recommendation--until CBD oil companies are held to a standard, there's no guarantee of what's in each individual bottle of CBD oil. On Feb. 18, 2020, the DOT released a statement encouraging all those subject to drug testing specified under 49 CFR part 40 to use CBD oil with caution (we've included the release in its entirety below).

Employers: Educate your employees on CBD

The prevalence of CBD oil in society is massive, and all the purveyors of CBD cite only amazing results and purity claims. The truth is that only prescription CBD is guaranteed in its composition--and that's not sold at your gym, your video store, or the gas station as gummy bears. 

The best thing employers can do for their employees is to educate them on CBD oil and the potential risk to their job.


Post the release from the DOT, discuss with your employees, and ensure all are informed before seeking treatment. 


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Compliance notice from the DOT on CBD oil


The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-334, (Farm Bill) removed hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.  Under the Farm Bill, hemp-derived products containing a concentration of up to 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are not controlled substances.  THC is the primary psychoactive component of marijuana.  Any product, including “Cannabidiol” (CBD) products, with a concentration of more than 0.3% THC remains classified as marijuana, a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

We have had inquiries about whether the Department of Transportation-regulated safety-sensitive employees can use CBD products.  Safety-sensitive employees who are subject to drug testing specified under 49 CFR part 40 (Part 40) include:  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, among others. 

It is important for all employers and safety-sensitive employees to know:

  1. The Department of Transportation requires testing for marijuana and not CBD.
  2. The labeling of many CBD products may be misleading because the products 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. The FDA has cautioned the public that: “Consumers should beware purchasing and using any [CBD] products.”  The FDA has stated: “It is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement.”*  Also, the FDA has issued several warning letters to companies because their products contained more CBD than indicated on the product label. **[i]  
  3. The Department of Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation, Part 40, does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason. Furthermore, CBD use is not a legitimate medical explanation for a laboratory-confirmed marijuana positive result. Therefore, Medical Review Officers will verify a drug test confirmed at the appropriate cutoffs as positive, even if an employee claims they only used a CBD product. 

It remains unacceptable for any safety-sensitive employee subject to the Department of Transportation’s drug testing regulations to use marijuana.  Since the use of CBD products could lead to a positive drug test result, Department of Transportation-regulated safety-sensitive employees should exercise caution when considering whether to use CBD products.

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