DOT releases compliance notice about CBD

Apr 30, 2020

At the end of February the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance (ODAPC) released a notice concerning the use of CBD. CBD, or cannabidiol, which is not psychoactive, is one of the many cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. The DOT’s compliance notice offered information about the use of CBD, stating that “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.”

The notice goes on to discuss whether or not those who are in DOT-regulated safety-sensitive jobs eg. pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, train engineers, transit vehicle operators, ship captains etc. are able to use CBD products. 

The notice goes over three main points summarized below:

  1. The DOT has regulated drug testing. This means it is a requirement for any DOT employee in a safety-sensitive position to undergo drug testing, however, the DOT does NOT test for CBD, they test for THC, the main psychoactive metabolite of cannabis.
  2. It is important for consumers to understand that the labeling of CBD products may not always indicate the reality of what is inside the product. The notice points out that the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) does not currently oversee the labelling of CBD products. This means that there is no way to be sure that what is listed on the product ingredients, is actually what is in the product. The FDA has had to issue several warning letters to companies when it was found that products contained more CBD than indicated on the label. The FDA has cautioned the public “Consumers should beware purchasing and using any [CBD] products.”  as well as stating “It is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement.” DATAC has written about the illegal CBD sold in Canada that buyers should beware, what is on the label is not necessarily what is in the bottle when you are not purchasing from government sanctioned retailers.
  3. Part 40 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) covers the DOT’s drug and alcohol testing regulations and prohibits the use of any Schedule I drugs, which includes cannabis. As well it is important to understand that an explanation of the use of CBD will not overturn a cannabis positive drug test, as for the DOT there is NO medical explanation for a laboratory-confirmed cannabis positive result.

All of this information shows how important it is for those in safety-sensitive positions who fall under the DOT regulations to really use caution if they are going to use CBD products, and recognize that the use of such products will NOT overturn a cannabis positive test.  

The FDA is working on coming up with the answers about CBD and products containing CBD, you can go to their website here that has consumer updates about cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds, to find out more information.