6 Medical Marijuana and CDL Status Facts

Medical marijuana has proven benefits for various illnesses but also has side effects. Questions arise regarding its use for CDL drivers: Is prescribed marijuana legal while driving? Can CDL drivers use it on days off? What if they test positive post-accident, despite sobriety during driving? These concerns highlight complexities in marijuana use regulations for commercial drivers.

Medical Benefits Of Marijuana

Doctors prescribe marijuana for various legitimate reasons:

Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy use it to alleviate pain and nausea, enabling them to eat.
Cannabis compounds show potential in inhibiting cancer cell growth, particularly in cervical cancer.
Epilepsy patients experience longer seizure-free intervals with marijuana.
Its anti-inflammatory properties aid in autoimmune gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s Disease.
Marijuana alleviates symptoms of mental health conditions such as PTSD and OCD.
It relieves pain for individuals with nerve damage and lowers blood pressure.

Given its efficacy and relatively fewer side effects compared to other medications, many opt for doctor-prescribed marijuana cards.

Marijuana Side Effects

The National Institute On Drug Abuse reports that THC interacts with brain receptors, leading to various effects:

Heightened sensory perception
Changes in time perception
Mood alterations
Reduced mobility
Slower reactions
Impaired decision-making
Memory issues
Delusions and hallucinations at high doses
Potential psychosis at high doses

1. Medical Marijuana And The Law

A National Highway Traffic Safety Commission study of 7 trauma hospitals found 25% of car accident fatalities involved drivers testing positive for cannabis. While some states allow medical and even recreational marijuana, federal regulations remain stringent. The Department Of Transportation (DOT) prohibits commercial drivers with CDL licenses from using marijuana, given its potential to impair driving.

2. How Long Does Marijuana Stay In Your System?

Marijuana can be detected in drug tests for up to 30 days, making it challenging for drivers to prove sobriety at the time of an accident. Employers face liability concerns, as positive tests make it difficult to ascertain fault. Consequently, both drivers and companies may be deemed responsible for any accidents involving marijuana use.

3. How Often Do CDL Drivers Get Tested?

Approximately 50% of drivers undergo testing annually. Commercial driving companies conduct tests upon hiring, post-incident (e.g., accidents), based on suspicious behavior, or through random screenings. CDL drivers must be part of a randomized testing pool, with tests conducted quarterly. Refusal to take a drug test results in failure.

4. Do They Keep A Record Of Failed Tests?

Indeed. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) operates the Clearing House, a database accessible to government bodies and employers, detailing your drug test history for the past five years. A history of failed tests can hinder job prospects, even with a current clean test. To undergo testing, search for “DOT testing center near me” or “DOT physicals near me” online to locate the nearest certified clinic or doctor’s office.

5. How Do They Test For Drugs?

Marijuana metabolites are detectable in urine samples, though false positives can occur due to various factors outlined by the National Library Of Medicine. Substances like Dronabinol, Efavirenz, and certain NSAIDs can trigger false positives.

6. Choosing Safety

Ultimately, holding a marijuana medical card and a CDL simultaneously isn’t feasible. Thus, prioritizing safety over personal preferences is crucial, especially in professions requiring a CDL.

source: https://teamcme.com/medical-marijuana-how-it-can-affect-your-cdl-status/


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