CBD oil and driving - Is it legal?

CBD oil and driving - Is it legal?

Let's look at what the rules are with CBD oil and driving

9 December | Hannah Rubery

CBD oil and driving (image)

What is CBD oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is derived from the cannabis plant and is used in a variety of products, most commonly CBD oil. The two common compounds in marijuana are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD which have different effects.

While THC was the most known compound in cannabis, due to its psychological effect, CBD is the calmer of the pair. CBD is not psychoactive and does not change the state of a person’s mind but seems to work in harmony with the body.

Is it illegal to drive after taking CBD?

As stated by the UK government, it is illegal to drive if either you are unfit to do so because you’re on legal or illegal drugs, or have certain levels of illegal drugs in your blood (even if they have not affected your driving).

The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that CBD did not appear to have any psychotropic effects. Many countries in the EU and the UK thereby deemed CBD as a legal product (in the UK it is treated as a novel food), and therefore means it is legal to drive whilst taking CBD. However, as stated by the UK government, even legal drugs, if impacting your driving ability, can make it illegal to drive under the influence of said drugs.

Does CBD impair your driving?

As CBD oil is a legal product, it is legal to use while driving or before driving, but it is important to note the side effects. Some users report after using CBD that they feel tired or fatigued, something that can very much affect your ability to drive. As up to one-fifth of road accidents may be caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel, it is understandable why this could be of concern when driving after using CBD.

If you are feeling tired or fatigued after using CBD, you should avoid driving.

There have been some studies that have looked into this matter. A Dutch study published in 2020 compared 26 drivers on a motorway after giving each of four groups cannabis containing varying degrees of THC and CBD. They began driving after 40-100 minutes after taking the cannabis. It was found that those who took the high THC and THC/CBD combination showed short-term impairment similar to drivers with alcohol levels of 0.05% (just below the legal limit in the UK). Those on the CBD-only strain showed no change in ability. But it is important to note that the dosage these drivers took was only 13.75mg which is less than many regular users take.

Does CBD show up on drug tests?

Occasionally UK police carry out on-the-spot drug tests on motorists if they suspect them to be under the influence. Drug tests for cannabis are not designed to detect CBD, just THC. So as long as you are using UK legal CBD products which contain 0.2% or less of THC, you won’t receive a positive or false-positive result. Using CBD products that may have come from abroad however could yield a positive result on these tests, as they are likely to contain more THC than UK standards allow.

Overall, it should be based on your own judgement whether you feel able to drive after taking CBD. Should you feel any side effects such as tiredness or fatigue, it’s advised to not drive until you are feeling more alert, or you risk an accident.

If you are new to CBD, you may find the side effects a little stronger than anticipated. Make sure to check your dosage and if you have any strong side effects, you may need to lower your dosage. The FDA advise that you should have no more than 70mg a day.