Author: Dr. David Thorpe
Marijuana use is becoming quite a hot topic across the nation. It’s discussed both from a medicinal sense as well as relating to recreational use. The use of CBD oil often confuses this topic even more. Is it legal? Can it cause some of the effects of marijuana? Can it be detected in a drug screen? All are common questions that pop up not only within the general public, but also among truck drivers.
WHAT IS CBD OIL?
CBD oil stands for cannabidiol, and is a compound found in cannabis plants like hemp and marijuana. In reality there are over 113 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants with the most commonly discussed being CBD and THC.
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound where THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is considered psychoactive. This means that CBD does not make you feel high, anxious, make your eyes red or any of the well-known effects of THC.
In recent years CBD has undergone a significant amount of research and it is being used for a variety of medical conditions and has been shown to help relieve anxiety, arthritis, migraines, sleeplessness, discomfort and pain, seizures, depression and has even been shown to help with those suffering from Parkinson’s.
Research has also demonstrated that it may even promote a healthy heart and relieve some of the symptoms and side effects of cancer and its treatment.
IS IT LEGAL TO USE CBD OIL?
The simple answer is yes. For it to be legal however, it has to contain less than 0.3% THC. At this level it will not make you feel high or give you any of the physical effects of using or ingesting marijuana. It also can be extracted from different plants, the hemp plant or the marijuana plant. Each of these plants contains THC, but the levels are wildly different! Marijuana plants are bred for their buds and to contain as much THC as possible, whereas hemp plants are gown for their stalks and fibers and cannot legally be grown unless they possess less than 0.3% THC.
Another difference is that marijuana plants contain far more CBD, making CBD oils derived from marijuana plants higher in quality. In order to make CBD oil strong enough to have medicinal effects from hemp plants, far more plants have to be used in the process. Using more plants means it’s less sustainable for the environment and these types of CBD oils will contain higher levels of pesticides and toxins from soil due to the sheer volume of plants required to make it potent enough to be useful.
Whether you are using CBD oil derived from marijuana plants or hemp plants, the amount of THC legally allowable is the same. Every brand differs in the amount of THC actually in their products however, so if you are a driver, be sure you do your research!
CAN CBD OIL BE LEGALLY USED BY TRUCK DRIVERS?
The answer to this is complicated and difficult because it can be either yes or no. While CBD oil itself might be legal in most states, THC is not. On top of this, no matter what form of CBD oil you purchase, you will have trace amounts of THC. There is no current way to 100% separate the two.
In order for CBD oil to be legal, it has to contain 0.3% or less THC, so it can be classified as a hemp product. CBD itself is still considered illegal on a federal level! Therefore, as an interstate truck driver it would therefore be considered illegal and the driver would not be able to utilize CBD in interstate commerce. If the driver is an intrastate driver, the driver may be legally able to use CBD oil and still drive a truck.
Another problem can potentially impact the driver however. That being a random drug test. Even though there are stories about drivers using CBD that have negative drug tests, there are drivers that have tested positive as a result of CBD oil use. The problem is that drug tests cannot differentiate THC that came from CBD oil and THC that came from the marijuana plant.
And regardless of whether a state allows for the legal use of marijuana or not, marijuana use is considered illegal by the Federal government.
WHICH STATES DO NOT ALLOW CBD OIL USE?
There are currently three states where any form of marijuana, hemp or cannabis are totally illegal. You cannot obtain or use cannabis products in any form in these states. They are:
- South Dakota
CBD legality does vary by state, and of course so does medical marijuana.
On the Federal level, as mentioned, all types of marijuana are illegal…..INCLUDING CBD. Despite the fact that CBD is being sold in stores everywhere, it is still classified as a Schedule 1 Drug by DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and therefore not allowed to be used by a truck driver working in interstate commerce.
SO WHAT SHOULD TRUCK DRIVERS DO?
If you are working in interstate commerce you cannot use CBD oil.
If you work in a State where it is legal and only work in intrastate commerce you still may be at risk for a positive test during a random drug test. Even though it is rare it can happen. Furthermore, if you are selected the first thing to do would be to disclose the fact that you use CBD oil immediately. Inform them of the ailments you use CBD for, and, if necessary, educate them on what it is and what it is NOT – that is, NOT psychoactive and cannot make you high like THC. Most people these days are aware of the medicinal benefits of CBD oil, but some are not. It is important to convey the fact you are not doing drugs!