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Can truck drivers use CBD? All you need to know about cannabis, hemp, testing and the clearinghouse

Updated Oct 8, 2021

Across the country, more and more states are decriminalizing and outright legalizing marijuana, and meanwhile CBD, an extract of industrial hemp plants, a legal cousin to marijuana, has emerged as an effective treatment for everything from chronic pain to anxiety and sleep disorders. 

But despite the warming national attitudes toward the hemp plant and all its potential derivatives, CDL holders should approach any form of the substance with extreme caution. 

Overdrive revisited a column in our Trucking Law series, written by Dr. Alexander Underwood, in this video to go over what drivers need to know about CBD, THC, and keeping their CDLs – the landscape for hemp/cannabis-derived products has only gotten more chaotic, and murky in terms of legality, since that column originally aired.

A barrage of consumer products have swept through gas stations and truck stops across the country. Recently, savvy businesspeople have started selling so-called Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC, or concentrated THC derived from fully legal hemp plants.

These products exploit the federal loophole that deems industrial hemp byproducts legal but plants grown for THC illegal. While these products remain legal, for now, they too will cause a failed drug test as the Delta-8 and Delta-10 compounds produce the same metabolites as Delta-9, plain-old THC-bearing marijuana, the kind that’s federally illegal. 

Amid the madness in the market for cannabis products and the ample confusion, an untold number of truckers have had their careers sidelined due to positive drug tests for THC. 

From January 6, 2020 to June 1, 2021, 80,098 urine drug tests administered under the mandatory federal program for CDL drivers came back positive. More than half of those tests found marijuana. 

The video tracks the legality of different products and states the official DOT position on CBD. 

Above, find what you need to know about the intersection of marijuana, CBD, and trucking law. --Video Editor Andrew Guinn contributed to this report

[Related: Careful with CBD: Marijuana positives in drug tests are possible

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