Can Truck Drivers Use CBD Oil? – DOT Drug Testing Deep Dive

Three big rig trucks pulled off on the side of the highway during the golden hour with the sun perfectly shining on them.

Given the chronic pain that plagues many long-haul truck drivers, it makes sense that many in the industry would be curious about using CBD. Read on to learn more. 

Truck drivers can legally use CBD products that do not contain any THC, such as broad spectrum CBD or CBD isolate, since the Department of Transportation does not test for CBD on their 5-panel drug tests. CBD may be unsafe to take while driving at high enough doses, so make sure to dose properly. 

In this article, we’ll additionally discuss the DOT’s drug testing standards, CBD’s detectability in urine, the nuances of whether or not you can drive safely on CBD, the benefits of CBD, and the types of CBD products truck drivers can and cannot use.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound found in the cannabis plant. It is used to treat chronic pain, induce relaxation, reduce inflammation, and it may have the potential to treat a variety of ailments, including epilepsy, anxiety, depression, and more. Though CBD is extracted from the same plant that the psychoactive substance THC — the main compound in marijuana — comes from, CBD is non-intoxicating and non-psychoactive, meaning that it cannot cause a “high.” By law, CBD products must contain less than 0.3% THC, though some of them may still have trace amounts of the compound. 

Can you pass a DOT drug test on CBD oil?

If you’re consuming pure CBD oils with absolutely no THC, it’s almost impossible for use of those products to cause a failed drug test. 

The average 10-panel drug test does not bother to test for CBD, or really any compound found in cannabis other than THC. An employer would have to specially seek out a CBD-only drug test, which would not only be difficult and potentially costly to get a hold of, it would also be pretty unnecessary.

Though its legality can be considered somewhat ambiguous, and though some regions may have their own laws surrounding it, CBD is federally legal with little to no potential for abuse. Regardless, the Department of Transportation uses the same standard 5-panel drug test across the board, which does not bother to test for CBD. 

However, the reality of THC and CBD is not quite so simple, and the trace amounts of THC found in some CBD products may prove to be problematic for some drivers. While the production of hemp for CBD extraction is theoretically stringently overseen by the government, CBD products are not always so tightly regulated. There’s many potential reasons for this, given how young the industry is, in addition to the fact that many CBD products are sold as cosmetics, a class of product that does not require FDA preapproval in the same way that food or drug products do. 

Regardless, many CBD products from disreputable sellers are poorly labeled, and may include more THC (and other compounds) than they might purport to on the label — multiple truck drivers have alleged that their CBD products, which were labeled as having absolutely no THC, caused them to fail random drug testing. Whatever amount was contained in those products was evidently enough to cause a failed drug test, which can lead to being fired, the temporary suspension of your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), or a permanent CDL suspension, even in states where marijuana is legal, or if the driver has a prescription for marijuana. 

That’s why it is so important to only get your CBD from somewhere you can trust. We’ve compiled a database of the safest, most trustworthy brands, available here

Additionally, THC’s tendency to be stored in the fatty tissues of the body means that it may build up faster than your body can get rid of it if you happen to use THC on a regular basis. Frequent or chronic use of CBD products that contain THC (or 0% THC products that have been incorrectly labeled) may lead to a build up of THC that could potentially lead to a failed drug test.

Older women with dry hands holding out a lab test cup filled with urine.

How long is CBD detectable in urine?

CBD, the active component in all CBD products, is largely not detectable in urine — drug test producers do not bother with making reagents that react to CBD’s presence in urine. You will almost certainly never find a CBD panel in a multiple panel drug screening, and it’s unlikely that your employer will ever subject you to a CBD drug test, since it is a federally legal and non-intoxicating substance; there is basically no such thing as a cannabidiol drug test. Theoretically, however, cannabinoids are detectable up to 30 days after use, which can include CBD. 

THC, however, is a different story. Depending on how often you use it, it may show up anywhere between 1-30 days after using something that contains THC. While it is particularly unlikely to show up if you have only been using CBD products that contain trace amounts of THC, it is possible for it to tip off a drug test up to a month after use. The frequency with which you use cannabis can change this, however, as trace amounts of THC may remain in the body for up to months for frequent cannabis users. Additionally, your body fat percentage may also impact your drug test status up to months afterwards, as cannabinoids are fat soluble and are stored in the body’s fat reserves. For individuals who smoke frequently and have higher body fat percentages, failed drug tests may be more likely weeks or months after your last usage.

Can you use CBD oil while driving?

Remember that unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and non-intoxicating. So for the most part and for most people, yes, it is safe to take small doses of CBD and drive. At most normal doses, CBD will simply induce a feeling of relaxation, along with some other positive effects, like providing pain relief and a mild mood boost. 

However, at particularly high doses, or for certain individuals who are sensitive to CBD, it may induce feelings of sedation, low blood pressure, or drowsiness that can make driving unsafe. If this is the case, it is probably best that you do not get behind the wheel while using CBD. 

Even though THC’s potential impact on drug tests was mentioned earlier, it’s unlikely that the THC contained within CBD products will have any effect on your ability to drive. Even when misleadingly labeled, the concentrations of THC in any given CBD product are likely far too low to induce a high.

Can truck drivers smoke CBD flower?

Once in a while should not be a problem, but because cannabinoids are fat soluble and CBD flower contains trace amounts of THC, there is a small chance that it can build up in your body over time from regular use.

Unlike CBD products that have had the THC filtered out and removed, like CBD isolate or broad spectrum CBD, CBD flower contains every cannabinoid and terpene present in the hemp plant. This means that there are trace amounts of THC in CBD flower — usually less than 0.3% by dry weight — that could potentially tip off a drug test.

While one use of CBD flower every once in a while is certainly not enough to cause a failed drug test for THC, due to the low volume found in the drug, using it frequently may result in a failed test. Though CBD flower has some unique benefits, it may be best to opt for a CBD product that is low in THC, like CBD isolate or broad spectrum CBD, in order to avoid any problems.

Man with a scruffy beard lighting a joint that's hanging from his lips.

Benefits of CBD for truck drivers

CBD offers many potential benefits to truck drivers. For one thing, it is a potent pain-reliever, which may be of much use to long-haul truck drivers. Over time, truck drivers might develop chronic pain-related issues, such as back pain, which CBD has been demonstrated to provide relief for. 

Truck drivers are at particularly high risk for ailments such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and smoking-related illness. While little is currently known about cbd’s impact on most of these health issues, some research supports CBD as a potential weight loss supplement, and it may be able to help with issues like heart disease by lowering inflammation. Furthermore, smoking CBD-only cigarettes may be a way to stop smoking, as CBD is less damaging to one’s health than smoking tobacco and is completely non-addictive.

What can I do if I’m a truck driver who uses CBD?

As with any substance, remember to check with your doctor regarding whether or not CBD is safe for you. Additionally, if you’re just beginning a CBD regimen, make sure you start small and up your dosage incrementally in order to gauge how severe the side effects are for you. If CBD induces sedation that you believe would make it difficult or irresponsible to drive, lower your dosage, or only take it when you are sure you won’t have to operate a motor vehicle. 

If you’re concerned about drug testing, consider switching to a CBD isolate — CBD that has been chemically isolated so as to exclude all other compounds that might be found in broad or full spectrum CBD products. Additionally, if you are using CBD to treat muscle aches and pains, you might consider switching to a topical CBD product, such as a cream or lotion. Because topical treatments are not absorbed into the bloodstream, they cannot cause a failed drug test, but they may still be effective at treating muscular pain. 

Finally, if you would still like to use more traditional CBD products, make sure you are purchasing from reputable sellers in order to avoid labeling mishaps. CBD Facilitator offers a directory of high-quality trustworthy CBD brands with a variety of CBD products to choose from, including CBD oils, CBD gummies, CBD isolate, and more.

Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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