You can legally and safely drive on CBD if you do not consume CBD in obscene quantities. However, personal safety and the safety of those travelling with you in the car are important. You will also be in trouble with the law if it is determined that you’ve consumed other cannabis-related products before or while driving.
In the following lines, we will address both of those things and will bring forth the facts that surround these two dilemmas. That way, you can stay safe on the road and won’t be breaking any laws.
CBD Is Not the Same as Driving High on Marijuana
First of all, we need to explain that driving while on CBD is not the same as driving high on marijuana. These two affect your driving abilities differently, and we will demonstrate that here.
CBD, same as THC, is a chemical compound found within cannabis. CBD’s popularity increased in the last few years as it can help treat various health conditions. Recreational users use it to evoke feelings of relaxation, clarity, and calm. In medicinal circles, CBD is used because of its anti-seizure, anti-tumour, neuroprotective, antioxidant, and anti-anxiety properties.
Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t cause any psychoactive effects, as it doesn’t bind directly to the CB1 receptors that are part of the endocannabinoid system. Instead, CBD indirectly connects with the endocannabinoid system. Consequently, CBD influences adenosine which has an anti-anxiety effect. In addition, states of relaxation and calm appear as a direct result of the CBD.
According to Dr. Ethan Russo, one of the pioneers in cannabis research, CBD is conclusively non-intoxicating.
To conclude, driving while on CBD is the furthest thing from drug-impaired driving. Based on Dr. Ethan Russo’s research, consuming CBD can not be considered substance abuse, and there is no such thing as CBD impairment. Therefore, his answer to using CBD before hitting the road is yes. However, there is a “but” attached to it, and we’ll talk about it in the following lines.
CBD and Impaired Driving
According to research, CBD products affect our brain’s chemistry that lowers excitability and increases relaxation. Considering that they are not intoxicating effects, it is fair to conclude that CBD doesn’t impair a person’s ability to drive, at least with most folks. But, some folks experience specific side effects that can make it not safe to drive.
Some of the most common side effects include drowsiness, lightheadedness, and low blood pressure. Anyone that has experienced some of these side effects while using CBD oil products should avoid driving. The best course of action is to make an appointment with a physician so that you can address all that. Very often, all it takes to deal with these side effects is to adjust the dosage.
The thing is that CBD affects everyone differently. Typically, larger doses are related to a sedating effect, whereas smaller doses act like mood boosters. A small dose for one person might act as a large for another. The point is there are no criteria here that can determine the proper dosage for anyone. Hence, the best way to approach this is by testing your tolerance levels at home instead of driving on the road.
Can You Legally Drive on CBD Oils?
You can legally purchase CBD oil in Canada and you are allowed to drive on CBD oil as long as the percentage of THC is less than 0.3%. In contrast, in most European countries, that percentage varies between 0.2 and 0.6. Those amounts of THC are so small that they cannot cause any intoxicating effect. We assume that you don’t consume CBD oil in huge quantities.
On the other hand, some countries have zero tolerance for THC, and even the tiniest trace can cause driving under the influence charge. So, keep in mind that different countries have different DUI laws when travelling abroad.
For example, if you are suspected of impaired driving within the US, the UK, or the EU, the officers have the right to test you. They can use methods such as saliva, standard field sobriety test, or some other test.
The smart play here is always to read the label of your CBD oils so that you can pick up the amount of THC it contains. Different CBD oils contain different levels of THC, which can make all the difference in the world.
Medical Research: CBD Legal Limit and Drug-Impaired Driving
While knowing the legal limit implications while driving on CBD oil is essential, it’s even more important to consider safety. Here is another study conducted by Johannes Ramaekers, a professor at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.
His field of expertise is psychopharmacology and behavioural toxicology. In his study, he examined how impairment may differ between cannabis strains and depends on time after use.
The study looked into driving performance under the influence of CBD products and included 26 participants. It was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on completion. The participants were on average 23 years old and reported using cannabis less than two times per week in the last year. None of the participants said that they were taking some other medicines or drugs during the driving.
Each participant was given a vehicle with a camera mounted on its roof. They drove on a real highway, with real traffic, and not some controlled environment or a simulator.
The participants completed four sessions. For each session, they were given four preparations:
13.75 milligrams of:
- A placebo
Several conclusions were drawn from the study. The one that mattered most is about the CBD on driving. As it turned out, if the products contain only low doses of CBD and no THC, the risk of impaired driving is minimal. At the same time, professor Ramaekers pointed that the study only takes into account the tested doses.
Can You Overdose on CBD Oil?
We can not find any record of someone taking too much CBD oil and dying. However, there can be some negative effects of consuming too much marijuana over a short period. If someone takes too much CBD oil, some expected side effects include body fatigue and severe headaches. Therefore, it is advisable to always start with small doses and see how your body reacts to avoid such scenarios.
Small doses of CBD oil act as a stimulant for the central nervous system and help the user stay alert over a longer period, whereas high doses can make the user sleep over a prolonged period.
So, high doses won’t get you intoxicated and can make you sleepy, which is not what you want when on the road.
How Does Drug Detection Work?
When suspicious of drug-impaired driving and if the driver is under the influence, the police officers might decide to conduct a drug test. Nowadays, the police have roadside testing devices to test whether drivers are driving under the influence of marijuana or other drugs. After completing a standardized field sobriety test, the law enforcement officers may even ask to take a blood sample for further testing or even involve a drug recognition expert (DRE) as that’s their prerogative.
If you are stopped by law enforcement officers and tested for driving high on marijuana, the first test cannot be used as part of a criminal trial. It won’t matter whether you tested positive or negative. However, the second road test that matters can be used as evidence against you if you tested positive.
Therefore, in case you get a first positive test, you can demand a second one. The police officers must follow the state driving laws and allow you to take a second test. They might ask you to even go with them to the police station where they will test you. That is their legal right, and you do need to comply.
DUI Driving Laws
DUI driving laws also say that drug-impaired driving doesn’t consider whether you used medical marijuana or not. That means, if caught driving under the influence, your medical cannabis won’t get you off the hook. There are no exceptions here, and the law is quite strict. You should not drive while using or immediately after using cannabis. It won’t matter if you were vaping CBD, smoking, had edibles, or anything else. Similar to alcohol state laws, what’s on your blood matters.
Last but not least, when it comes to drug testing, you only get tested for your THC levels, not for your CBD. There is a way to test your CBD levels, but that’s quite rare.
Nevertheless, what you do not want at any time, is driving stones. In the video below you can see how the driving skills can change when driving stoned:
CBD oils are not psychoactive, and because of that, they can’t be the reason for intoxication or impair driving. However, if the CBD is consumed in obscene quantities, there might be some side effects of using CBD.
You also need to ensure the amount of THC in the CBD product you are using. Just because there is a label saying “CBD dominant cannabis,” it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any traces of THC in it.
You don’t want to risk and learn the level of THC from test results when stopped by the police. To stay safe, ensure that you consume a CBD product in which THC levels are marked and are not over the legally allowed levels that can get you driving under the influence charge.
Start using in small doses and work your way up until you hit that sweet spot. Do that, and you can freely drive while taking CBD and not worry about breaking any driving laws. More importantly, you won’t need to worry whether your use of CBD impair your driving ability or not.