While CBD has been hailed treatment for various ailments, for truck drivers use remains a risky bet — a good way to fail a drug test, threatening your livelihood. How safe is it for truck drivers to use CBD? Can they legally o use and carry CBD along while driving between states? Can truck drivers use CBD? This guide details the legal, medical, and professional implications of CBD use for commercial vehicle drivers.
Can truck drivers use CBD? All you need to know about cannabis, hemp, testing and the clearinghouse
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
Can Truck Drivers Use CBD Oil?
CBD can ease many health concerns that truck drivers are dealing with, including pain, sleep problems, and anxiety.
Since CBD is legal on a federal level, many drivers are wondering if they can include it in their daily supplementation plan without having to worry about potential road controls.
Since CBD is non-intoxicating, the simple answer is: yes, they can. But since not all CBD is created equal, let’s elaborate on what kind of CBD oil is appropriate for truck drivers.
Why do Truck Drivers need CBD?
Truck driving is a typical yet demanding job. It requires a lot of focus, and if there is ever a chance to make a driver feel a little better than usual, it’s only logical for them to grab hold of the opportunity.
CBD oil seems to be able to help with numerous negative impacts of truck driving. Here’s why drivers use cannabidiol:
Combating Sleep Disorders
Sleep deprivation is one of the common issues for truck drivers. It happens as a result of their irregular sleeping pattern.
Some days, they drive for long hours without sleep. Sometimes, drivers can only take short sleep breaks for a few consecutive days.
So, when they finally get their days off, they may find it difficult to adjust back to sleeping at night. According to a study, 20.6% of truck drivers suffer from a chronic sleep disorder. When left unattended, this sleep disorder may eventually lead to other physiological issues or affect their mental health.
A 2007 study showed that CBD can help people fall asleep faster and spend more time in the deep sleep stage. Using CBD while you are off work as a truck driver can provide you with immediate relaxation, thereby ensuring longer resting hours before returning to work for your next shift.
Driving long distances for hours may cause pain, tension, muscle strains, and other types of discomfort. This rigorous driving is what most truck drivers do every other day, and as such, they are more prone to body aches and soreness. A study has found CBD to offer benefits for pain reduction due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Using CBD may help truck drivers relax their muscles and reduce inflammation, therefore making them as comfortable as they can be while they go about doing their job.
Inducing a State Of Calmness
Most truck drivers suffer from depression and anxiety, and there is proof of this in a 2012 research. The research states that 26.9% of truck drivers are depressed, while 14.5% suffer from anxiety. These mental health issues are not a good state of mind for someone who’s behind wheels, traveling major roads. Truck drivers that aren’t in full control of their emotions can pose a threat to other drivers on the road.
That is another reason why truck users should use CBD oil. A 2014 study claims CBD helps to induce a state of calmness because of its ability to increase serotonin levels, serving as an antidepressant.
Reducing Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (HBP) is another major health problem associated with truck drivers. They are susceptible to HBP because of the unhealthy nature of their job. These factors range from sitting in the same position for a long time to eating more fast food as they’re on the road most of the time and don’t have the luxury of eating proper meals.
Research on CBD has discovered that it has a lot of cardiovascular benefits, including the ability to reduce blood pressure. CBD helps regulate blood pressure by protecting the arteries from inflammation. It also reduces fluid retention and relaxes the blood vessels.
Is it Safe to Use CBD and Drive?
CBD is a non-intoxicating compound, so unlike THC, it won’t get you high and impair your ability to drive a vehicle. The only type of CBD oil that contains trace amounts of THC is the full-spectrum extract. However, it only contains 0.3% of THC, which isn’t enough to induce intoxication.
That being said, you shouldn’t take large doses of CBD right before entering the truck because large doses can make you feel dizzy and sedated. If you’re tested for THC at work, make sure to choose broad-spectrum or isolate-based products. These types of CBD are completely THC-free.
CBD Dosage: How Much CBD Should Truck Drivers Take?
There is no standard dose for CBD. The ideal CBD dosage depends on factors such as body weight, body chemistry, and the concentration of the product you want to use.
If you are using CBD as a truck driver, you should consider your schedule before deciding on the dose. If your shift is on or close, you should use a little to moderate amount to avoid the risk of drowsiness while driving. If it falls on off days, you can go ahead and use adequate quantities to help maximize the benefits.
Will CBD Make You Fail a Drug Test?
Truck drivers, due to the nature of their job, are frequently tested for drugs, and as such, questions may arise as to whether it is okay for them to use CBD.
Generally speaking, CBD alone won’t make you fail a drug test. If you don’t take extremely large amounts of full-spectrum CBD, such as 2000 mg daily, it shouldn’t result in a false positive score for THC.
Nevertheless, the CBD market is still unregulated by the FDA, so no official body supervises the production and labeling of CBD products. There are many mislabeled CBD oils on the market; some of them contain less CBD than advertised, while others have THC levels exceeding legal limits.
Buying from an unverified source may cause you to take more THC than you think — and thus lead to a failed drug test.
Always make sure that you know exactly how much CBD and THC is in your product. You can do it by reading the product’s certificate of analysis. This document should be available on your vendor’s website.
In conclusion, we can not simply answer yes or no when asked if truck drivers can use CBD oil because it’s a bit complicated. The answer can be no, in the sense that truck drivers are to stay entirely away from anything that may have tetrahydrocannabinol in it. Such may include marijuana-derived CBD or a full-spectrum hemp-derived CBD oil.
In the same vein, the answer can be yes as long as the truck driver is careful enough to use only the right kind of CBD — broad-spectrum or isolate CBD products, or a little dose of full-spectrum CBD.
The timing and dose are the other essential factors. High doses of CBD may promote dizziness and sedation, so it’s better to use CBD oil when you’re off your shift if your situation requires taking large amounts of this cannabinoid.
Last but not least, always make sure that your CBD oil comes from a trusted source that provides batch-specific lab reports for its products. Only then can you rest assured that your product doesn’t contain more THC than approved by the federal government.
- Mona, S., Yorghos, A., Chad, C., Sevil, S., Caitlin, F. Trucking organization and mental health disorders of truck driving. 2012. 
- Kimberly, A, Babson., James, S., Danielle, M. Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and sleep: a Review of the literature. 2017.
- Ethan, B, R., Geoffrey, W, G., Phillip, J, R. Cannabis, pain, and sleep: Lessons from therapeutic clinical trials of sativex, a cannabis-based medicine. 2007. 
- Hammell, D, C., Zhang, L, P., Ma, F., Abshire, S, M., Mcllrath, S, L., Stinchcomb, A, L., Westlund, K, N. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis. 2015. 
- Khalid, A, J., Garry, D, T., Saoirse, E, O. A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. 2017. 
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
Can Truck Drivers Use CBD?
Can truck drivers use CBD? This guide details the legal, medical, and professional implications of CBD use for commercial vehicle drivers.
For commercial vehicle drivers, the legality of cannabidiol (CBD) use on the job can seem muddy.
The short answer is that CBD is legal for truck drivers — but be careful what products you’re using.
In this article, we’ll answer a few questions you’re probably wondering as a commercial driver’s license holder. Between drug tests, differing laws among states, and the effects of CBD, there can be legal and professional implications to using CBD on the job.
Will CBD show up on a drug test? Does it matter if you’re crossing state lines with your products? Most importantly, is it safe?
Here’s everything you need to know.
Table of Contents
Can Truck Drivers Legally Use CBD?
Yes, it’s legal for truck drivers to use CBD in general — but it’s not as clear-cut when it comes to using CBD while on the job.
There are issues with the legalities of traveling with CBD across the border (despite being legal federally and on both sides of a particular state) and the potential for high doses of CBD to impair driving.
Ultimately, CBD is technically legal for truck drivers to use at work, but you should avoid bringing your CBD with you while crossing into states like North Dakota or Idaho.
Additionally, the company you work for may have a policy banning all cannabis products — including CBD, regardless of state or federal laws.
Is CBD Oil Legal in the United States?
The legality of CBD is stipulated by one important requirement — the products must contain a concentration of 0.3% or less THC.
Most CBD products do contain trace amounts of THC because they’re extracted from the cannabis plant. If that concentration stays below the 0.3% threshold, it’s considered a CBD product. Otherwise, the product may be classified as THC and may be illegal in some states.
Delta 9 THC or marijuana products are illegal to use both at work and at home while driving any motor vehicle.
Traveling Between States with CBD
Because CBD is legal in all 50 states, it is perfectly legal to carry it across state lines.
However, it’s important to make sure you’re purchasing actual CBD — with a THC concentration below 0.3% — so you don’t inadvertently carry THC into a state where it’s illegal.
There are also some reports of people getting hassled for carrying CBD across the border. While it’s not illegal, border officials may want to test the product using analysis machines to make sure it’s legal. This can take a long time to complete and is a real annoyance to truckers trying to stick to a tight schedule.
Why Would Truck Drivers Want to Use CBD?
There are numerous reasons that truck drivers would gravitate toward CBD. The benefits of CBD range from anxiety reduction to better sleep and so much more — all evidenced by scientific studies .
With the irregular and demanding lifestyle of driving commercial vehicles, CBD may help workers reduce some of the intense negative impacts of the job:
1. Irregular Sleep Cycles
Between long-haul drives and overnight shifts, truck drivers experience irregular sleep schedules when they’re on the job. Especially for drivers who work for several days a week and then have several days off, establishing a restful sleep cycle can be challenging, if not impossible. According to the National Institute of Health, more than 20% of truck drivers report chronic sleep disturbances .
CBD has been shown to help people fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and get a better rest . When you only have so many hours to rest before your next shift, a dose of CBD can help you fall asleep on demand and get a better night’s sleep overall.
The increased sleep time after taking CBD has also been shown to help improve sleep patterns . When you rest longer, your body goes into the REM state for a more efficient, better rest that will keep you alert and awake for your next shift.
2. Anxiety and Depression
Whether your stress and anxiety come from the job itself, being away from family and friends, or the irregular schedule, commercial vehicle driving is a demanding and important profession. A study from the NIH reports that over 26% of truck drivers experience depression, and over 14% have anxiety .
CBD is known to reduce anxiety and help users feel calmer and more relaxed. It also helps you get a better night’s sleep — a lack of which is one major cause for anxiety . CBD has also been instrumental in treating depression as it can act as an antidepressant, increasing serotonin levels .
3. Pain or Discomfort from Driving
When you’re sitting in the same position for long periods of time, you’re likely to experience pain from skin irritation, muscle aches, and joint discomfort. This pain can come from inflammation, lack of circulation, or irritants like an itchy seatbelt.
CBD can help reduce pain by reducing inflammation and relaxing the muscles. Especially when used as a salve or topical cream, CBD has been shown to decrease inflammation and pain in the muscles and joints .
4. Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
More than one-third of drivers worldwide experience hypertension — also known as high blood pressure .
This can occur because of genetics or diet, but it can rapidly escalate if you spend all day sitting in one place. Truck drivers are often relegated to fast food diets as well, which can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes.
Studies show that there are many cardiovascular benefits to using CBD, not the least of which is reduced blood pressure .
CBD relaxes your blood vessels and promotes better blood flow throughout the body. It can also help reduce pancreatic inflammation, which can result from diabetes caused by sustained high blood pressure .
CBD & Drug Testing
CBD is not a drug that is tested for on the typical employment drug test. However, because it contains trace amounts of THC, it’s theoretically possible to test positive for marijuana while consuming CBD products.
To avoid this, make sure to always check that your CBD products contain less than 0.3% THC concentration. Opt for broad-spectrum CBD oils or CBD isolate oils only and avoid full-spectrum products that contain trace amounts of THC.
At the end of the day, there is some risk in using CBD if your employer regularly drug tests (which most truck driving operations do). If CBD did cause a positive drug test result, it would not stipulate that the result was due to CBD use rather than marijuana.
As such, consider the risk before choosing to use CBD as a commercial truck driver.
Does CBD Affect Driving?
However, if you mix CBD with THC, the THC may impact your driving. It’s also possible that CBD can interact with medications you’re taking, so be sure to check for interactions before you take it.
CBD is known for its ability to promote relaxation as well. In some cases, this can improve driving by helping you remain calm and focused — but it could also make driving worse.
Listen to your body and avoid taking CBD if you’re already feeling tired. CBD is a very useful supplement for alleviating pain and anxiety, but it’s not so useful if you’re trying to stay awake.
What’s the Dose of CBD?
The dose of CBD that will work best for you depends on your weight, desired strength, and CBD product. Depending on the strength and form factor of the product you choose, you may take anywhere from one CBD gummy to five drops of a CBD Oil tincture or any other dosage.
Our CBD dosage calculator makes it easy to understand the right amount to take based on your weight. As truck drivers, we recommend taking a mild or moderate strength dose to reduce the risk of sleepiness.
Final Thoughts: Can Truck Drivers Take CBD?
Put simply, yes, truck drivers can take CBD. The only real risk to a truck driver is the very small potential of testing positive for THC on a drug test.
The health benefits for truck drivers’ sedentary lifestyle, irregular schedules, and mental health concerns include reduced hypertension, better sleep, and elevated moods.
For truck drivers, we recommend CBD isolate or broad-spectrum CBD. The main reason for this is that full-spectrum CBD products have a higher likelihood of containing THC, which could lead to a positive drug test.
Be sure to find the right dose for your use — like a dose for during your driving shift versus during your sleep shift — to make sure you get the most out of CBD.