Does CBD Impact Driving?
CBD is a compound found in the hemp plant that is known for its therapeutic properties. Unlike THC, CBD does not have any psychoactive effects. Therefore, CBD is legal in most states. While there is still much research to be done on CBD, some preliminary studies suggest that it may help with anxiety, pain, and inflammation. But what about driving? Can you drive on CBD? Read on and let’s find out!
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid found in hemp plants. Consuming it will not get you ‘high’ like THC will. However, CBD has shown a lot of therapeutic promise when it comes to alleviating symptoms of pain, anxiety, and depression. It is commonly consumed in oil form or by vaporizing the flowers of the hemp plant itself.
CBD oils are available in a variety of different strengths at a variety of different price points. It differs quite significantly from the ‘hemp oil‘ you could find in your local grocery stores. The ones we might put on a salad or cook with – this kind of oil may contain little to no CBD at all.
So, does the ability to affect the brain in any way at all mean that you can’t drive after consuming CBD oils? Unfortunately, the answer is not clear-cut to us. While CBD use itself may not impair your ability to drive, it is possible that it could interact with other medications you are taking. Additionally, some states have laws prohibiting the use of cannabis-based products while operating a vehicle.
If you are considering CBD use, it is important to talk to your doctor first. They can help you weigh the risks and benefits. We always recommend consulting your physician to determine if CBD is safe for you to use.
How Does CBD Affect My Driving?
CBD use has been shown to have various health benefits, but it’s also known to have some effects on your cognition and motor skills. This means that it is important for research to be done on whether it can affect a user’s ability to drive safely. A few have been done – by getting participants to consume CBD products and then take part in a kind of simulated driving test.
The good news is that a study involving 26 test subjects carried out in 2020 concluded that there were no statistically significant differences in driving ability between those who had consumed CBD dominant hemp and placebo. Here, the researchers measured whether participants who had consumed CBD weaved or drifted their simulated cars more than those who had not consumed it.
A later study in 2022 was similar but also tested a wide range of CBD doses, right up to 1500mg – a very high dose. This study also concluded that “oral CBD treatment does not appear to induce feelings of intoxication and is unlikely to impair cognitive function or driving performance.” These researchers looked at a wide variety of variables, including reaction time and subjective reports of participants feeling ‘relaxed,’ ‘sleepy,’ ‘anxious,’ or ‘stoned.’
So far, so good. Know your doses.
It is, however, important that more studies with a higher number of participants are carried out before we can be totally sure that it is entirely safe to drive on CBD.
This is particularly true when it comes to how CBD can interact with other medications and also how long-term CBD usage may impair driving, which was not properly determined in these studies.
It’s important to remember that CBD is not currently illegal and is not considered a controlled substance. However, if you are taking CBD and it is judged by a member of law enforcement to have affected your ability to drive (if they somehow find out), you could still be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in some states.
Is it Legal to Drive While Using CBD?
CBD is generally thought to be a non-intoxicating compound and, as such, isn’t currently included in drug tests for drivers. So, there’s usually no way for law enforcement agencies to tell if someone is driving under the influence of CBD.
One area to pay attention to, however, is the reputation of the company that has made the CBD product you are consuming, whether it is CBD oil, an edible, or raw hemp flowers.
It is possible for THC levels to be higher than stated on the bottle or packaging. This could mean becoming accidentally intoxicated, and THC absolutely can be tested for by law enforcement agencies.
In some states, the presence of any amount, no matter how small, of a controlled substance such as THC would mean you are breaking DUI laws. So packaging that is even slightly wrong could lead to an unexpected positive THC reading.
This is thankfully rare, so simply make sure you are buying CBD products from a reputable source and that it is advertised as having a THC concentration of 0%. This way, you’re extremely unlikely to fall foul of DUI laws.
What are the Risks of Driving While Using CBD?
It’s always best to err on the side of caution. If you’re ingesting CBD, it’s best not to drive until you know how it affects you personally. Start with a small dose and see how you feel before getting behind the wheel.
The same advice also applies if you are switching the CBD product you use to a new one, which may provide different effects than what you are used to. In cases like this, it’s best to try it out in a safe environment before you try driving after taking it.
This is particularly important in poorly regulated markets – those where the sale of hemp is not widespread and done through entirely legal processes. In these areas, CBD products are less likely to have been thoroughly tested to make sure there are no traces of THC or other compounds that could affect cognition and, therefore, your ability to drive safely.
If you do choose to use CBD, be sure to do so with caution and only when you are able to focus fully on the task of driving.
How to Stay Safe While Taking CBD
If you’re taking CBD, it’s important to be aware of how it might affect your driving. CBD might interact with other medications you’re taking in a way that you didn’t expect – causing drowsiness or impairing your ability to focus.
The good news is that based on the studies currently available, this is extremely unlikely, and you should be just fine!
If you’re driving on CBD, be sure to take breaks often and pay attention to how you’re feeling. If you start to feel tired, dizzy, or sleepy, pull over and rest until you’re feeling better.
It’s also important to keep some snacks and water with you in case you start to feel sick. And, of course, always obey the speed limit and drive safely!
While more research needs to be done, it seems that CBD does not have a significant effect on your ability to drive. However, as with any substance, it is always best to err on the side of caution. Avoid driving if you have consumed CBD within the last few hours. If you are taking CBD for medicinal purposes, be sure to speak with your doctor. Ask about whether or not it is safe for you to operate a vehicle while using it.
If you do experience any noticeable changes in mood, cognition, or reaction time that you believe could negatively impact your ability to drive safely, it would be well-advised to stop consumption before driving.