CBD and truck driversLong haul truckers deal with a level of physical and mental stress unlike almost any other profession. From back pain and fatigue to anxiety and sleep disruption, the life of a trucker is grueling. This is why many want to know: can truck drivers use CBD?

With updated regulations, a shifting legal landscape, and misconceptions about CBD and drug testing, determining the answer is complex. Let’s unpack the facts about CBD use as a truck driver.

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Why Truck Drivers Are Interested in CBD

Life on the road throws many challenges at truck drivers that CBD may help:

Chronic Pain – Constant driving and unloading cargo can lead to back, neck, knee, and joint pain. CBD’s pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties may help alleviate trucker aches.

Sleep Trouble – Irregular schedules and noise/vibration in the truck cab disrupt sleep. CBD could promote deeper sleep.

Stress & Anxiety – Traffic, deadlines, isolation, and safety concerns cause added stress. CBD is shown to reduce anxiety.

Recovery Aid – Sore, tired muscles need relief between shifts. CBD applied topically may reduce muscle strain.

Clearer Focus – Busy highways demand sustained attention over long hours. Some find CBD enhances focus.

Given CBD’s wide-ranging therapeutic potential, it’s easy to see why long-haul truckers working under duress may want to give it a try. But can they without risking their CDL license?

Is CBD Legal for Truck Drivers?

With shifting state laws and CBD’s relationship to cannabis, the legal question has confused both truckers and authorities. However, legal experts confirm:

  • Federal law allows the sale and use of hemp-derived CBD containing 0.3% or less THC in all 50 states following the 2018 Farm Bill.
  • Federal regulators including the USDOT recognize legal hemp-CBD products as non-intoxicating and distinct from cannabis.
  • States abide by the federal THC limit of 0.3% for hemp-derived CBD, although state medical marijuana laws differ.

Therefore, CBD itself remains fully legal for truck drivers provided it contains 0.3% or less THC, contains no other controlled substances, and abides by state laws.

The greater ambiguity has been around testing.

Can Using CBD Cause a Positive Drug Test?

Here lies the catch. Although legal, CBD products could still cause truckers to test positive for marijuana during roadside impairment tests or employers’ drug screenings.

There are a few reasons CBD may lead to a positive drug test result:

Low THC Thresholds – Cutoff levels used in traditional urine testing only look for the presence of 50 ng/mL of THC or 25 ng/mL for DOT tests, well below CBD’s 0.3% THC cap.

Inaccurate Lab Results – Some labs still use testing equipment unable to distinguish CBD from THC accurately.

THC Contamination – Improperly processed CBD products may contain higher traces of THC than claimed.

Cumulative THC Buildup – CBD’s legal 0.3% THC can accumulate in fat cells over time with consistent use.

This has left truckers in a difficult position, unable to determine if legal CBD use will jeopardize their CDL. However, new developments are changing things for the better.

How New CBD Detection Testing Helps Truckers

To address the dilemma over CBD triggering false positive test results, some drug testing labs have adopted new processes that differentiate CBD from cannabis use.

Two-Step Testing – An initial screening is followed by a confirmation test sensitive enough to tell hemp CBD and cannabis THC apart [1].

No Threshold Testing – Rather than seeking any THC presence, newer tests detect whether THC levels exceed CBD’s legal 0.3% limit [2].

These approaches ascertain if THC detected is due to illicit cannabis or permissible hemp CBD, giving truckers assurance they won’t lose their CDL over legal supplement use.

As CBD testing accuracy evolves, authorities gain higher confidence in distinguishing hemp CBD from marijuana use in truck drivers.

Best Practices for Truckers Using CBD

Until CBD testing becomes standardized industry-wide, truck drivers can take a few precautions:

  • Review your company’s drug testing policies.
  • Seek out CBD sellers who test for THC content.
  • Choose CBD isolate or broad spectrum products to minimize risks.
  • Start with lower doses to keep THC buildup minimal.
  • Discontinue use 1-2 weeks before a scheduled drug screening.
  • Look for labs using two-step or no threshold CBD testing.
  • Understand CBD risks still exist without policy changes.

While progress is being made, truckers considering CBD should remain vigilant to adhere to all company guidelines and protect their CDL status.

What Does the Future Hold for CBD Use Among Truck Drivers?

Despite lingering challenges with drug testing, the outlook for expanding CBD access in the trucking industry is bright.

Regulators seem to be easing policies, with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration no longer listing CBD as a prohibited substance [3]. Proposed legislation could soon prohibit denying truckers or other workers over a positive CBD drug test [4].

With CBD’s momentum only growing, removing barriers to access for truck drivers appears imminent. Until then, stay well-informed about protocols, exercise caution, and drive on!