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Use of Legalized Marijuana or CBD Oils Prohibited Under U.S. DOT Regulations


The U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently clarified the agency’s drug and alcohol policy concerning the legalized use under state laws of CBD oil and marijuana by CDL drivers. The policy is important to petroleum marketers because it addresses how the legalized use of CBD oil and marijuana for medical and recreation purposes under state law is treated under U.S. DOT drug testing requirements for CDL drivers (49 CFR Part 40).

Both CBD oil and marijuana contain THC, a banned Schedule 1 substance under U.S DOT regulations. CBD oil derived from hemp contains 0.3% concentration of THC. THC concentrations in marijuana may range from anywhere between 5% and 30%. The U.S. DOT drug testing regulations do not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs for any reason. Therefore, a medical review officer (MRO) conducting driver drug tests will not issue a negative test result simply because the THC detected in a driver’s urine specimen was from the legalized recreational use of CBD oil or marijuana. In addition, an MRO will not issue a negative drug test based upon information that a physician recommended that the employee use medical marijuana where states have passed medical marijuana initiatives. Instead, THC from these (or any other) source will result in a positive test for the driver.

What Do U.S. DOT Regulations Require?

  • Use of THC is forbidden for a regulated driver.  Medical and recreational marijuana and CBD Oils, even if legal under state law, are banned under DOT regulations.
  • A medical review officer (MRO) will not take into consideration the medicinal use of THC or CBD related products when determining a drug test result.
  • A positive drug test result requires the carrier to remove the driver from safety-sensitive functions until the DOT return-to-duty process is complete. Return-to duty includes:
    • Evaluation by a substance abuse professional.
    • Complete prescribed rehabilitation.
    • Negative test results achieved through follow-up testing.

Communicate Cautions to CDL Drivers:

  • Trace amounts of THC from marijuana or CBD oils may show up in a DOT urine screen.
  • MROs will not accept marijuana or CBD oils as a valid medical explanation for a positive test.
  • Enforcement authorities may consider CBD oil in commercial vehicle as possession of a controlled substance if officers are unable to determine the oil’s THC concentration.  No official enforcement guidance has been issued for officers to follow.


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