The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration recently issued an advisory reminding its personnel that Marijuana (THC) still falls in the list of scheduled substances and a pilot may be subject to a drug screening test at any point of time.
Through a medical advisory published in the latest edition of FAA Safety Briefing, FAA Federal Air Surgeon Dr. Michael Berry told all the pilots that federal law and not state law governs FAA medical and pilot certification. “The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) drug test checks THC, and its presence at defined levels result in a positive drug test.”
Further, in the advisory, Berry warned pilots about the unregulated CBD products in the market, which may have more THC than the allowed 0.3%. So, in case of a failed THC test, excuses like ‘use of some CBD oil purchased from the market’ will not be entertained, wrote Berry.
Berry believes that the research on marijuana for medical purposes is still in its adolescence stage and a lot is yet to be known before allowances are made for pilots to use the drug. “We need to understand a lot before even considering the use of marijuana and its derivatives for airman certificate holders. Please also be aware that no special issuances have been granted for conditions treated with medical marijuana.”
Notably, as cannabis continues to become a legal drug in many states across the US, the flying community has repeatedly shown interest in marijuana and CBD, maybe because of the fear of the risks involved.
Though Berry mentioned about the federal laws many times in his article, he didn’t bring up the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp and hemp-derived products.
As more research comes up and the cannabinoid extraction technology advances, we are pretty sure that all people will be able to use hemp and hemp-based products — if not marijuana — irrespective of their profession or interests.