Does CBD Affect Your Ability to Drive?
If you are one of the millions of people using CBD for your day-to-day wellness, there is a good chance that your CBD use is not limited by when you have to drive. Pain and anxiety do not just go away because you are behind the wheel. So many people wonder, "Is it safe to drive on CBD?".
A monumental new study has been released which states that CBD use does not impact a driver's ability to drive safely. This is in agreement with years of user reports regarding CBD use while driving and the safety of it.
There are some limitations to the study that have been recognized. The dosage used for the study (13.75mg) may be lower than what an average CBD user takes. It is also worth noting that not all CBD products are high-quality. This study and other studies have found that THC use impairs driving ability for around 4 hours after use. CBD products are required to legally contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, but not every company thoroughly tests their products to ensure this.
Furthermore, there are new products on the market that contain other forms of THC and do produce intoxicating effects which will impair your ability to drive safely. Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC as well as THC-O products, all of which are, like CBD, derived from hemp, are not safe to use while driving.
Now, let’s take a closer look at all of this.
CBD is just one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Cannabis encompasses both hemp and marijuana. The difference between the two, legally, is the amount of Delta-9 THC. Hemp must contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC or else it is considered marijuana. Delta-9 THC is, in part, responsible for the feeling of being “high” users get after using marijuana products. CBD does not produce any of the psychoactive “high” effects.
Getting high is not the only reason people use marijuana products. Many use cannabis for the wellness benefits including pain relief, anti-inflammation, anxiety/stress reduction, sleep aid, digestive health, and more. CBD derived from hemp can provide you with all of these benefits, just without any of the high.
Driving while under the influence of marijuana is illegal, even in states where marijuana is legalized recreationally or medically. Studies have shown it can impair reaction time and judgement, making stoned individuals unsafe drivers.*
So what about hemp and CBD products that do not make you “high”? Is it safe to drive on CBD? The short answer is: Yes, you can safely and legally drive after using CBD. A recent study tested individuals' driving ability after a dose of either placebo, CBD, THC, or a combination of CBD/THC. Researchers measured how much the individuals wavered in their lane while driving.
It is no surprise that those dosed with THC and the THC/CBD combination wavered significantly more than the placebo (control) group. The exciting finding from this study is that individuals dosed with just CBD had no difference than the placebo group.* This led researchers to the conclusion that CBD use does not affect a user’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
What do we mean when we say not all CBD products are OK to drive after using? We just said CBD did not impair a user’s driving ability. That is still very true! Here’s the catch. Some CBD products contain other cannabinoids, including Delta-9 THC. These products are called “full spectrum” because they contain the full range of cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Legally, these products must contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC and at these levels you are fine to drive.
The issue is that not all company’s do their due diligence and test their products. It is not uncommon to find CBD products on the market place that, if you tested them, might contain higher levels of Delta-9 THC than is legally allowed. This is why it is of the utmost importance that users buy their CBD products from a reputable company with third-party lab-tested results.
One of the biggest concerns about the study which found CBD did not impair driving ability was the dosage used during the study - 13.75mg. Critics of the study feel that this dose is lower than the average CBD user takes. Therefore, the study does not give an accurate representation of driving after CBD use. This brings us to our main topic: properly dosing with CBD.
We go by the simple saying: start LOW and build up SLOW. Dosing is very personal and several factors affect how a particular dose of CBD will affect you. Weight, severity of your condition, and metabolism all play a part. Those of us with more pain may need a higher dose than those with acute pain. Same goes for heavier individuals.
It is best to start with a low dose, around 10-20mg. Wait about 6 hours before taking more. During that time, take note of how you are feeling so you can reference this later and begin to develop an understanding of how a particular dose of CBD will affect you. Dosing instructions should be clear and easy to find on your CBD product’s label.
CBD has many potential benefits, but it also has some potential side effects. This includes lightheadedness, drowsiness, low blood pressure, and dry mouth. If you are a first time CBD user, we do not suggest driving right away. Instead take time to see how the dose feels for you. If you are going to have side effects, better to find that out before you are behind the wheel.
It is also worth noting that driving laws differ from state-to-state. If you have any concerns, check your local laws.
No. Using any THC product produces intoxicating effects which makes you an impaired driver. While these new types of THC (Delta-8, Delta-10, THC-O) are derived from hemp and therefore federally legal (this is debatable for THC-O because it is synthetic), they do get you “stoned” and that constitutes driving under the influence. Because these products are so new, laws about using them still need to catch up. Despite the legal gray area, it is not suggested that you drive after using any THC product, hemp-derived or not.