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Is CBD Safe for Driving?

September 29, 2022 5 min read

Is CBD safe for driving.edited

Is CBD Safe for Driving?

Even though it is safe to drive after taking CBD, the FDA strictly warns against it. Since CBD products are not yet FDA regulated, most manufacturers have misleading information on their products label. Some products may contain more than the said amount of THC, a compound responsible for mind-altering effects. This blog discusses more on CBD, whether it is safe to drive after taking it, driving laws surrounding it, how long an individual should wait to drive after consuming it, and myths surrounding it and driving.

Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is a chemical compound existing naturally in the hemp plant. It is available in various formulations such as CBD-infused oils, vapes, edibles (gummies and capsules), and tinctures. The CBD industry is expanding daily. Since it is available in multiple forms, it can be utilized in almost every situation, such as post-workout relaxation. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), CBD may sometimes be unsafe during driving even though it is non-intoxicating. It may cause drowsiness and fatigue, hence impairing judgment. Before taking any CBD product, please take note of its THC levels first since THC has psychoactive effects.

Understanding CBD

According to Burstein & Sumner (2015), CBD, or cannabidiol, is among one hundred and thirty cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. It is available in three forms. What differentiates each of them is the content available in the product. They include:

  • Full spectrum CBD: Marinotti et al. (2020) stated that the full spectrum CBD contains most cannabinoids available in the cannabis plant, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is a prevalent chemical compound in marijuana responsible for its high effects of cannabis. Full spectrum CBD is the most potent form of CBD due to the provision of the entourage effect, which occurs when the other cannabinoids work synergically to increase CBD's therapeutic effects.
  • Broad spectrum CBD is similar to full spectrum CBD. However, what sets them apart is their absence of THC.
  • Isolate: Also referred to as pure CBD, CBD isolate is the most refined form of CBD due to the availability of CBD solely.

Can I Drive After Taking CBD?

According to Rubin & Rita (2020), high amounts of CBD may not interfere with driving. CBD has no intoxicating effects that may impair cognitive function. However, more research is needed to confirm CBD effects on safety-sensitive activities such as driving. However, if you consume CBD while under any other medication, you should not drive. Additionally, it would help to consume only CBD isolate or broad spectrum to be safer since they do not contain THC. The FDA strictly warns against driving under the influence of CBD. Though it is generally tolerable, it can cause various adverse effects, including but not limited to sleepiness and inactivity. Because of the said effects, you should be careful if you plan to drive after consuming CBD.

Since CBD is not a controlled substance, it is unlikely to get charged under the influence or while intoxicated in the US. However, if, by any chance, THC reads in the drug test, one may face DUI (driving under the influence) charges. Though the federal law only allows CBD products whose THC contents are less than 0.3 percent, some manufacturers mislabel their products, and at times, the THC concentration may be higher.

Driving Laws Surrounding CBD

Most US states are firmly against driving under the influence of a substance. Luckily, CBD does not fall under Controlled Substances. However, the following DUI laws may apply to CBD:

Several states have what is known as "per se" in their DUI law. You might be charged with driving if a specific THC concentration is found in your system. For example, driving in Washington is illegal if your system has more than five nanograms of THC. Since the full spectrum CBD contains low levels of THC, there is a probability for THC to appear on a test during a DUI investigation.

How Long After Consuming CBD Should I Drive?

CBD is available in various forms. Each form has a different bioavailability; for some, its effects may take more time to kick in than others. For instance, CBD vapes take around ten to fifteen minutes for the results to kick in, while edibles take a bit longer - generally after one hour. However, that does not mean driving straightaway after consuming CBD is unsafe.

Is It Possible to Drive Safely After Taking CBD?

Most individuals tolerate CBD well. However, an individual must know how their body reacts and if there are any underlying health issues. Since everyone has a unique body metabolism, CBD responds differently. Below are some factors to consider before driving with CBD in the system:

  • If you have taken any illegal drugs before.
  • Before consuming any prescription drugs, it is essential to check in with your doctor first.
  • If you feel uncomfortable after taking CBD right away, wait some time for your body to be prepared before driving.
  • You should always check your product label before ingesting any of its contents.

Does CBD Have Any Side Effects?

Even though CBD is generally safe, few side effects have been linked to its use. Even though CBD side effects are rare, you should be conscious of how your body reacts to it, meaning if you notice any adverse reaction, cease its consumption immediately.

Koo et al. (2020) noted that drowsiness is one popular side effect of CBD caused by higher dosages. It is dangerous to operate a vehicle if feeling drowsy since it impairs one's judgment. Hence, noticing how CBD reacts to your system first is vital.

Myths Surrounding CBD and Driving

Most individuals mistake THC's psychoactive effect for CBD, which is untrue. As mentioned, CBD does not cause any mind-altering effects, so it may not interfere with one's driving.

Can CBD Cause Sleepiness While Driving?

Though CBD is a sleep aid, studies confirm that it promotes daytime wakefulness. Furthermore, CBD indirectly promotes healthy sleep since it reduces anxiety symptoms and stress leading to relaxation instead of drowsiness. As a result, it may benefit driving ability by boosting mood and reducing stress and anxiety.

The Bottom Line

In most states, it is safe and legal to drive after CBD use. However, you should be aware that CBD affects everyone differently due to the unique body chemistry everyone has. You should always be conscious of where you purchase your CBD product to avoid getting low-quality products. Only buy from reputable brands since they offer high-quality products and their THC level is less than 0.3 percent. Therefore, their products do not impair one's motor operating abilities. Start with a lower CBD dosage before driving to see how your body reacts to it first. If you feel any adverse reactions, avoid driving or operating heavy machinery.  

References

Burstein, S. (2015). Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: a review of their effects on inflammation. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry, 23(7), 1377-1385.

Koo, C. M., & Kang, H. C. (2017). Could cannabidiol be a treatment option for intractable childhood and adolescent epilepsy? Journal of epilepsy research, 7(1), 16.

Marinotti, O., & Sarill, M. (2020). Differentiating full-spectrum hemp extracts from CBD isolates Implications for policy, safety, and science. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 17(5), 517-526.

Rubin, R. (2020). Driving Under the Influence of CBD or THC—Is There a Difference? JAMA, 324(21), 2144-2145.