DOT Advises Caution as to CBD Use


The Department of Transportation prohibits the use of marijuana by DOT-regulated safety-sensitive employees (e.g. commercial truck drivers), and has now addressed the use of increasingly prevalent cannabidiol (CBD) products.

As explained in the February 18, 2020 DOT CBD Notice, THC is the primary psychoactive component of marijuana, which belongs to the cannabis family. CBD products are derived from hemp, a variety of cannabis that is bred to contain little to no THC; any concentration of up to 0.3% THC is not a controlled substance. The DOT reminds employers and safety-sensitive employees that the DOT requires testing for marijuana, not CBD. However, because CBD products are not regulated, they may contain more THC than indicated on product labels. The DOT states that “CBD use is not a legitimate medical explanation for a laboratory-confirmed marijuana positive result.” Thus, according to the DOT, regulated safety-sensitive employees “should exercise caution when considering whether to use CBD products.”

More generally, however, there are no workplace protections for the use of CBD by employees. Employers may implement whatever policies they like regarding CBD use, including a complete ban, except to the extent that CBD use may be a reasonable accommodation for an employee’s disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act or corresponding state disability laws.