Hemp-derived pain relief products are growing in popularity across the U.S., with many users turning to cannabidiol (CBD) for everyday relief or as a substitute for addictive opioid painkillers. However, the U.S. Coast Guard has issued a warning to mariners that CBD products come with a risk for mariners. Some products marketed as hemp or CBD may contain enough tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to cause the user to fail a drug test, with an outcome identical to the results for the use of marijuana. Over-the-counter hemp and CBD products are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the purity of their active ingredient varies.
Under federal law, an individual who fails a lab test for “dangerous drugs” – including THC – must be removed from duties affecting the safe operation of the vessel. In addition, he or she will be subject to merchant mariner credential suspension and revocation proceedings.