Vapes or e-cigarettes are the latest trend in smoking. According to a 2019 survey, more than 5 million U.S. middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. Vaping is also growing in popularity among adults. Nearly one in five 18- to 29-year-olds reports vaping regularly, more than twice the national average. Additionally, older adults claim to be picking up the habit with more than 10% of adults claiming to “regularly or occasionally” vape, according to a Gallup Poll.
These statistics tell a story of a country that is shifting from a pack of Marlboros to a pod of JUUL. But what does this mean for the trucking industry and the Clearinghouse Rule? Does vaping show up on drug tests? Let’s explore this question and how vaping may appear “healthier” but is anything but.
Initially introduced as a “healthier” alternative to cigarette smoke, these vapes are potent in their ability to deliver a high level of whatever is being put in the pod, whether that is nicotine or tetrahydrocannabinol (aka the chemical responsible for most of marijuana's psychological effects) or CBD (aka Cannabidiol - one of the active ingredients in marijuana).
According to TrueTest Labs, “There is no tobacco involved in vaping. The battery-charged vaping mechanism has a heating element that turns the liquid into a vapor, which is inhaled by the user. It is purely vapor, not smoke, as nothing is burned like with a cigarette. That vapor carries the active substance to the lungs.”
Conveniently packaged and highly mobile, these pods or packs for vaping can be widely used in public places and remain undetected unlike their cousin, the cigarette.
The answer to this question is quite simply, it depends. The results of a passing or failing drug test will be determined by what exactly is put into your vape pen or e-cigarette device.
THC, the active drug in cannabis, can be discovered through a typical drug test. The compound can be present in bodily fluids for up to 30 days and be present in hair and nails for months.
The answer becomes a bit more complex when it comes to CBD. According to HealthLine, “Cannabidiol (CBD) shouldn't show up on a drug test. However, many CBD products contain trace amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana's main active ingredient. If enough THC is present, it will show up on a drug test. This means that in rare cases, using CBD might lead to a positive drug test.”
Most CBD products aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As a result, it’s difficult to know what’s in them and how much of the THC could be present.
Therefore, if you are a CDL trucker, you may want to avoid all THC and CBD vaping products for fear that it may lead to a positive drug test and the initiation of the Clearinghouse Rule protocols. This would include: immediate removal from performing safety-sensitive functions (i.e., driving CMVs) until successful completion of the return-to-duty process with a DOT-qualified substance abuse professional.