CBD oil and driving – Can you drive on CBD?

Road

Those of us who have experience with CBD know that it can be a very strong regulator. And as CBD is becoming increasingly popular amongst all age groups there is one question that remains unanswered: is driving under the influence of CBD safe? Does CBD have an impact on how we operate motor vehicles?

In this article we will cover if and how CBD impairs driving and drivers, if CBD shows up on drug tests and what different laws and regulations apply in the UK and the US.

So keep on reading to have all of your questions answered!

Does CBD impair your driving abilities?

In general, CBD does not impact driving or the drivers performance. The influence of CBD is not at all comparable to the influence alcohol has on humans. Alcohol can affect your reaction times, motor control and vision, hence why drinking and driving is an absolute no-go. 

On the other hand, CBD products in general do not impair driving performance as they react to the body in a very different way to alcohol. However, it is worth noting that, especially for newcomers, your body may react sensitively to CBD. This could leave you feeling a little bit drowsy in the beginning, but these effects usually subside after a couple of hours and can be seen as an indication that you most likely took too much cannabidiol (CBD).

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Is it safe to drive after taking CBD? How long do I have to wait?

A study conducted at Maastricht University in the Netherlands showed that consumers of cannabis should avoid driving for at least four hours after consuming cannabis; the detrimental impact of THC on a person’s driving ability is well-documented. 

In this study, 26 healthy participants underwent driving tests after consuming THC, CBD, a mix of THC/CBD and a placebo. After four hours it was determined that lane weaving in participants subsided significantly when the participants had taken only CBD or the placebo. 

This study is not conclusive as to whether or not huge amounts of CBD could have an impact on driving. When CBD is consumed in the recommended amount and if you choose a quality product, your driving performance will most likely not be impaired at any point.

If you are still a newbie in the CBD world, it is still worth taking care when it comes to driving. As CBD is a strong regulator, your body might react to it if your initial dose is too high. That includes but is not limited to drowsiness, lightheadedness and dry mouth. In this case, you should wait until the effects subside before driving a car.

Will CBD oil show up on a drug test?

This question cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. Several factors impact the answer to this question, for example:

  1. the amount of THC in the CBD product
  2. the ratio of CBD and THC
  3. the drug test being used to detect drug levels

Laws and regulations limit the legal amount of THC to CBD products to 0.2% which will never be enough to cause a “high”. However, that does not mean that a drug test cannot produce a positive result. All full spectrum products include all sorts of cannabinoids including trace amounts of THC.

In our case, our THC amounts are entirely non-detectable which means they contain less than 0.03% THC. Our gentle CO2 extraction process ensures that all cannabinoids remain intact while we are able to remove almost 100% of THC.

If you consume full spectrum CBD as instructed, it will be very unlikely that a test will come back positive.

For those consumers who have to undergo regular drug tests, we recommend seeking an isolate as an alternative. Isolates contain only CBD and no other cannabinoids or THC.

Man driving
Driver hands on wheel driving car on city street

CBD and driving in the US

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US, it is prohibited to drive under the influence of “alcohol, marijuana, opioids, methamphetamines, or any potentially impairing drug–prescribed or over the counter” in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. 

In this study, driving under the influence of cannabis, in general, was found to contribute to driving impairment. 

After the Farm Bill 2018 which removed hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act, the US Department of Transportation released an addition to their “drug and alcohol policy and compliance notice” specifying that even though CBD is not considered to be a drug as marijuana anymore, the risk of testing positive on a drug test is not fully removed.

That being said, driving after taking CBD in the US is legal as long as the consumption of CBD does not lead to a positive drug test. Essentially, the less THC present in a CBD product, the higher the chances that a drug test will be negative.

CBD and driving in the UK

While cannabis and THC are controlled substances under the United Kingdom Misuse of Drugs Act, CBD is not, so it is legal to drive after taking it.

As we mentioned before when it comes to full-spectrum products, it is not possible to remove 100% of THC during the extraction process. That being said, the more THC a product contains, the more likely you are to see impacts on your driving performance. 

Under UK laws it is not legal to sell CBD oil with more than 1mg of “psychoactive cannabinoids” (no matter the size of the bottle) anyway, so it is extremely unlikely that consumers get into a state of intoxication in which driving would be impaired.

To make sure that the product does not exceed any legal amounts of THC, we always recommend buying CBD products from reputable brands only.

Safety of CBD Oil

CBD oil has a very high safety profile which is why it is generally safe to consume. Of course, this only applies to suppliers and sellers that sell products that are compliant with national laws and regulations and offer third-party lab tests to ensure the product’s safety and quality. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not currently certify the levels of THC in CBD products, so there is no federal oversight to ensure that the labels are accurate which is why third-party lab tests give the consumer the best opportunity to check not only the levels of cannabidiol (CBD) but also other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.

In order to determine whether or not a product is generally safe to consume, we advise you to seek a certificate of analysis (CoA) from the company you’d like to purchase from. Reputable brands offer access to those certificates openly through their website.

Wrap up and take aways

CBD in general is safe to consume and will most likely not interfere with your driving ability. Products produced under certain quality measures and with due diligence will be safe to consume and not impair driving.

If you still have doubts there are a couple of things that you can look out for:

  • Look for THC levels in the product
  • Consider starting with a lower dosage
  • Know your tolerance of CBD – don’t drive right away after taking CBD for the first time
  • If in doubt, or if you feel unexpected effects, find alternative means of transport. Having said that, did you know that there are guidelines for taking CBD oil / CBD products with you on a plane?

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Do you want to benefit from the experience of other CBD users? Do you have questions about CBD? Check out this active CBD group on Facebook!

Published by Vicky Stocker

A Munich native and translator and interpreter for English and French, Vicky’s journey at Nordic Oil started off in the US. Since then, she discovered the multiple benefits from CBD on the body but also in particular on the skin, which has become one of her passion topics of research and writing since then.

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