With more and more states becoming legal every year and the well-known benefits of CBD, truck drivers might be thinking they can use CBD oil to help alleviate sore muscles and joint aches from all the long trips on the road. Perhaps, you’ve heard of CBD’s ability to help with insomnia, depression, or its calming effects. However, there might be some risks involved with using CBD when it comes to the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, especially DOT drug testing.
What is CBD Oil and Its Benefits?
First, we have to understand cannabidiol (CBD) and its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most famous compounds (what are called cannabinoids) found inside the cannabis plant. Both have been found to have a myriad of therapeutic and medical effects, but we’re going to focus on CBD. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t get high like THC. It’s been found to help with mild problems like sore muscles and aches to more severe conditions like fibromyalgia. Some research even finds it has anti-anxiety and stress-relieving properties as well.
You’re probably asking yourself, “Where does CBD oil come from?” The oil is extracted from the stalks leaves and of the plant. It can be smoked or vaped. You can eat it or take it as a capsule. Some people use it as a cream or salve and rub it on their neck and back to help with pain in those areas. You can take little droplets under the tongue or chew it as a gum. Heck, you can even bathe in it if you want to.
And with all the stress and anxiety that comes with being a truck driver, CBD sounds like a godsend. You get all the benefits of using marijuana but none of the red eyes or munchies. Sounds like a good deal, right? Well, maybe not. Let’s dig a little deeper and find out…
Can Truck Drivers Use CBD Oil?
The most important thing to understand is marijuana, and all marijuana-related products are that they are 100% illegal federally. That means, as a CDL license holder, there will always be a risk until it’s legal all across the board. Since it’s legal in many states, you might be tempted to give it a try. You can find CBD oil with as little as 0.3% THC, so it’s unlikely that it will show on a drug test. However, nothing is ever that certain. A little down below, I discuss what can happen if you fail a drug test. So, always use your best and informed judgment if you wish to use CBD oil. Be sure to also read “CBD Oil Won’t Get You High But Here’s What to Expect” for facts on how CBD oil differs from the other known component THC.
What About Hemp Oil?
Hemp oil is A-Okay. It doesn’t contain any THC or CBD because it’s made from the seeds of hemp plants. The difference between hemp and marijuana is the THC content in the plant. If it’s less than 0.3%, then it is hemp. Anything higher is considered marijuana. Check out “Main Differences Between CBD Oil & Hemp Oil You Should Know” to see more differences between both oils.
Hemp seed oil is used in many beauty and health products on the market as a moisturizer and to promote hair growth. It’s also great for its nutritional value. It’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6. And it does have some anti-inflammatory properties, but nowhere near as well as CBD. Hemp oil is fine, but take caution as some products may contain marijuana-related compounds.
What Is a DOT Drug Test?
DOT is a drug test that’s regulated and enforced by the United States’ Department of Transportation. If you are labeled a “safety-sensitive” employee under the DOT’s regulations, then you are subject to taking a drug test under certain conditions (which I’ll speak about below). And you guessed it—if you hold a CDL, you are a safety-sensitive employee. This means your job affects your safety and the safety of others. I mean, you are driving a 40,000-pound bullet.
What Drugs Does the DOT Test For?
If going for a test, they are going to ask for a sample of your urine. All the DOT agencies use the same standard 5-panel tests that look for these common drugs:
- Marijuana – THC
- Opioids (prescription and non-prescription such as heroin)
- Phencyclidine or PCP
As you can see, THC is on the list and not CBD. That’s because most tests don’t specifically look for it, and it’s not worth in terms of expense and time since CBD doesn’t make you intoxicated. However, the problem lies is that there is a chance your CBD product could have trace amounts of THC, which will pop on the tests. Unfortunately, there is a plethora of anecdotal evidence of people testing positive for marijuana when they say their only CBD-only oils.
The safest choice would be a choice would be either a cream or a salve for muscle aches and joint pains. The CBD isn’t released in the bloodstream this way. Therefore, it will be less likely to show up on a urine test. But remember, there is always the risk. The only 100% certain way to not fail a drug test is never to use it at all. Take a look at “Can CBD Cream (Salve) be Used For Pain Relief?” for more info on using CBD creams or lotions.
When Do Truck Drivers Have To Take DOT Drug Tests?
There are certain situations where the DOT is required to administer a drug test to a safety-sensitive employee. Let’s go over those now.
Before you can begin driving on the road and any of your job responsibilities, you will have a mandatory drug test.
2. Random drug test
It’s meant to keep you on your toes, but the good news is it must be truly random. It is not just picking on any one employee. They must happen quarterly, and every employee must have an equal chance of being chosen.
3. Drug use suspicion
If there is reasonable suspicion, then a drug test will be required. This means a supervisor or someone higher has a reasonable belief or reason to suspect you are high or drunk on the job. “Reasonable” means they saw something like red eyes, smelled something like alcohol on your breath, or anything like that.
Getting into an accident on the job will result in a post-accident drug test. DOT agencies are required by law to test for drugs and alcohol when specific criteria are met—namely if anyone (including yourself) is injured. The alcohol test must be taken within 8 hours of the accident, and the drug test has 32 hours.
5. Return-to-duty (RTD) drug test
If you’re caught but didn’t get fired, you will come back to a return-to-duty (RTD) drug test. After your however-long suspension for a drug or alcohol violation, you will have to take another drug test to make sure you are still off the stuff.
6. Follow-up drug test
Then there will be a follow-up drug test after the return-to-duty test. This can last up to five years, depending on the severity of the violation. It will be managed by a Substance Abuse Specialist or an SAP. They will determine how many tests there will be when those tests are taken and what drugs they will test for.
What Happens If a Truck Driver Fails a DOT Drug Test?
The first thing that will happen is your immediate removal from your safety-sensitive employee role, meaning no more driving. To return to work, you will need to do three things:
1. Be evaluated by a Substance Abuse Specialist.
2. Complete all counseling, treatment, and education requires set by the SAP.
3. Be able to give a clean sample and come back negative on the next drug test.
Once you’ve done those, you will be allowed to drive again but under close supervision. And like I said before, it can last up to five years. Repeated violations will result in you being fired and losing your CDL license. And, remember, you might not be able to get it back.
Be sure to also check out “Will CBD Oil Make Me Fail My Drug Test?” for more related info on drug tests and CBD oil.
The best advice is disclosure. If truck drivers wish to use CBD oil for any reason, they should tell the employer. Explain to them what it is, how it works, and, most importantly, what it isn’t. They may not be in the know about cannabis and things like THC and CBD and might think it’s all the same.
Hopefully, I’ve given you enough information to decide whether or not CBD is worth it. As time goes on and more research is conducted, CBD oil will become more accepted, and truck drivers that want to use will be able to do so. Check out more benefits that you can get from CBD oil in “5 Ways CBD Oil Can Benefit Your Sex Life“. Or visit us on our Facebook and Instagram for more inspiration from the world of medical marijuana and CBD. See you there!