Truckers experience many of the same aches and pains that desk workers experience, including lower back pain. Sometimes, over-the-counter pain medications just don’t cut it. Stronger medications can cause drowsiness, making it impossible for truckers to work.
In a search for relief, many truck drivers are considering CBD oil or pills. CBD is purported to be safe and effective for pain, but is it safe for truckers to use these products?
The Potential Health Benefits of CBD
CBD stands for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis, but unlike THC, this compound by itself does not cause a “high.” According to the World Health Organization, CBD does not exhibit “effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.”
CBD can be derived from marijuana, but it can also be derived from hemp. Hemp is a cousin of marijuana, but the plant has virtually no THC, the psychoactive compound that creates a “high.”
CBD may not get you high, but it may provide pain relief.
A 2018 review looked at the effectiveness of CBD at relieving chronic pain. The review, which included studies from 1975 through March 2018, looked at various types of pain, including:
- Neuropathic pain
- Cancer pain
Researchers concluded that CBD was effective at managing pain and did not cause any negative side effects. More research is needed, but the results of the review are promising.
Thus far, we have the strongest scientific evidence of CBD being effective for childhood epilepsy syndromes.
Additionally, CBD has been touted as a treatment for:
Anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD is effective for all three of these conditions.
CBD Products are Risky for Truckers
Many truckers who are battling pain, depression and anxiety consider using CBD to help with their symptoms. Many will start using CBD while under the impression that it’s safe and legal to use.
The problem is that there’s a lot of regulatory confusion and buying the wrong product could put your job at risk.
CBD, on its own, does not cause a high, but the legality of CBD is murky at best. Hemp is the primary source of CBD for manufacturers. Hemp production is legal in 46 states, but selling CBD products is illegal. Making it even more confusing is that CBD products seem to be sold everywhere. Why? Because buying CBD products is legal sometimes.
Hemp-derived CBD is only legal if THC levels are below 0.3%.
The primary issue isn’t the CBD itself. If it’s a pure product, it shouldn’t cause any negative side effects or a high. The issue is that it’s not always easy to get a true CBD product. There’s also the concern that THC levels may be higher than expected, which would show up on a drug test.
THC is what creates the “high” people experience when they use marijuana. THC can affect your concentration and reaction time, increasing the risk of a truck accident. Truckers are regularly drug tested to ensure that they aren’t abusing substances while they’re behind the wheel.
If a trucker purchases a CBD product derived from marijuana or if the hemp-derived product has more than 0.3% THC, the trucker may face problems. The CBD use may show up on a drug test due to the higher levels of THC, and that would immediately put the trucker’s job at risk.
What Substances are Tested?
Trucking companies are legally required to drug test all drivers before they can operate a motor vehicle, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Random drug tests must also be administered every year. FMCSA rules dictate that employers must test 10% or more of the average number of driver positions in the trucking company. Owner operators must also participate in a random drug testing consortium.
According to FMCSA, tests will look for the following five classes of drugs:
- Opiates (codeine and opium derivatives)
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
- Amphetamines and methamphetamines
With the potential risk of THC popping up on a drug test because of CBD products, truckers may want to hold off on trying these products. Although pure CBD products should not cause any issues with drug testing, the industry is still in its infancy and regulations are still being hammered out.