Will CBD, or cannabidiol fail the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Drug and Alcohol Test and cause a positive drug test result? CBD Oil: FAA Zero Tolerance Policy If you are a user of cannabidiol (CBD) oil, the Federal Air Surgeon, Dr. Michael A. Berry, has a warning for you: “Use of CBD oil is not accepted as an
Clearing the smoke: Will using CBD cause you to fail the DOT drug/alcohol test?
With the legalization of marijuana, medical marijuana and/or CBD (Cannabidiol) in more than half of the states in the U.S., there’s been confusion among safety-sensitive employees like pilots, bus drivers, train engineers and truck drivers who are required to take the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Drug and Alcohol Test on what substances will fail a drug test.
Here’s the short answer: The U.S. DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason. 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.
It is important for all employers and safety-sensitive employees to know:
- The Department of Transportation requires testing for marijuana and not CBD.
- 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.
- 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.
For more information on Texas’ legalization of medical marijuana and CBD click here.
Texas MedClinic was established in 1982 by Dr. Bernard T. Swift, Jr., as a group medical practice that specializes in urgent care and occupational medicine. Texas MedClinic has grown to 19 locations in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Austin, and Round Rock. Texas MedClinic is staffed with 82 medical providers including physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners and over 450 employees.
CBD Oil: FAA Zero Tolerance Policy
If you are a user of cannabidiol (CBD) oil, the Federal Air Surgeon, Dr. Michael A. Berry, has a warning for you: “Use of CBD oil is not accepted as an affirmative defense against a positive drug test.”
Despite its legalization in some states, only one CBD product been approved for medicinal use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat rare forms of epilepsy, and it require a prescription. No commercially available CBD oil has been approved for use by the FDA; therefore, commercially available CBD oil is not subject to the same quality control standards as other FDA approved substances. Since it is not subject to FDA quality control, commercially available CBD oil may contain other substances inconsistent with its labeling, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the compound responsible for marijuana’s euphoric and mind-altering effects. Pilots should be aware that FAA required drug tests routinely test for the presence of THC. Therefore, pilots utilizing commercially available CBD oil are at risk of testing positive for THC (or other prohibited substances) and may be putting their medical and airmen certificates at risk.
As noted above, the Federal Air Surgeon clarified that the FAA will not consider the use of commercially available CBD oil as a defense against a positive drug test. If you have tested positive on an FAA drug test, call the AOPA Legal Services Plan at 1-800-872-2672.
Ian Arendt is an in-house attorney with AOPA’s Legal Services Plan. The AOPA Legal Services plan is offered as part of AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services.