CBD and the FAA

I've spoken to a number of pilots recently inquiring about CBD which is generally a topic of contention.  While the FAA does now allow the use of CBD, there are some very important things to consider if you're thinking of exploring the use of CBD.  

Before we dive in I'll address the question we get pretty frequently, and that's yes, you must report the use of CBD products to your AME.

First, and foremost, CBD is not regulated by the FDA like other medications, which can mean you're not getting what the label states you are.  Just because the label may say the CBD does not contain THC (the psychoactive component of Marijuana) certainly does not mean that is actually the case.  There have been many cases of failed drug tests by people who, at least claim, to only be using CBD.  The FAA does not care what the reason for a failed drug test may be.  In their eyes if you fail for THC then you must be using it.  Obviously, this can open a can of worms you don't want open.

The second thing to consider is that just because using CBD as treatment does not mean the underlying condition you are treating will not send up red flags to the FAA.  For instance, if you're using CBD to treat anxiety the FAA is going to want to know about the anxiety.  Something like using a topical CBD cream for joint pain probably would not cause you any issues.  Note the key word there…"probably".

My overwhelming advice would be to approach the use of CBD products with an abundance of caution.  As a pilot myself I will be avoiding CBD products like the plague.

Attached is the FAA reference document for the use of CBD products.

Blue skies!