DOT Speaks Out About Cannabidiol Products

Cannabidiol has only been around for a few years, but it has received an insane amount of mainstream media attention. Commonly known as CBD, the chemical is extracted from hemp and it’s said to have tons of beneficial medicinal properties. The CBD craze caught on when the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and its extracts. Within a year, cannabidiol was worth millions of dollars in sales.

Despite being extremely popular and accessible, CBD isn’t properly regulated yet. The FDA has repeatedly stated that CBD isn’t generally recognized as safe, going so far as to send warning letters to companies making unsubstantiated medical claims on their products. Still, thousands of CBD products fill the shelves, leading many people into believing they are all vetted and are of high quality.

On February 18, the Department of Transport (DOT) published a policy and compliance notice concerning cannabidiol, urging a certain cadre of employees to exercise caution when using cannabidiol. According to the agency, CBD use is not a legitimate medical explanation for a safety-sensitive employee who tests positive for marijuana.

There are quite a lot of substandard CBD products out there. A lot of them are contaminated with heavy metals and pesticides, have less CBD than what’s stated on the labeling, or contain more THC than what’s federally allowed. THC, or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive chemical that gives marijuana its infamous high. Taking such CBD products could, over time, lead to a THC build up, resulting in a failed drug test.

The DOT states that although safety-sensitive employees like pilots, bus drivers and transit vehicle operators can use CBD, many CBD products have misleading labeling.

“The products could contain higher levels of THC than 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 the labels are accurate,” the notice states.

Employees may actually be using CBD products, but since there is no definitive CBD test, it would be hard to differentiate between an employee using CBD or another using marijuana. And as the DOT states, CBD use is not a medical legitimate explanation for a safety-sensitive employee who fails a marijuana drug test.

“Because the use of CBD products could lead to a positive drug test result, DOT-regulated safety-sensitive employees should exercise caution when considering whether to use CBD products,” the notice cautions.

Industry analysts believe that CBD industry participants, such as Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX), acknowledge that the lack of federal oversight has led many people to be wary of using CBD products, so the cautious position of the DOT is understandable.

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