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Can You Drive on CBD Oil?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few years, you’ve probably heard of CBD oil. This therapeutic oil has been hailed for its possible health benefits, but since it comes from cannabis, you might have a few questions about when you can use it.

We all know that we can’t drive under the influence of substances like alcohol or cannabis, but can you drive on CBD? We’ve gathered everything you need to know about driving on CBD oil.

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is one of the more popular forms of cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is naturally found in cannabis and hemp material and is a chemical that is part of the family of compounds called cannabinoids. CBD is actually a major cannabinoid, meaning that out of the over 100 cannabinoids found, CBD is one of the most abundant.

CBD has gained quite a reputation for its potential health benefits. Research tells us that CBD oil may be able to help get a good night’s sleep, reduce anxiety and improve inflammation (1, 2, 3).

Can CBD get you high?

While CBD does naturally occur in cannabis plants, you don’t have to worry about it getting you high. The infamous psychotropic effects of cannabis are not due to CBD. Another major cannabinoid called THC is instead responsible for the high that comes with cannabis use. So long as your CBD contains no meaningful amounts of THC, you won’t experience any psychotropic effects when using CBD.

A 2015 study found that when consumed alone, CBD produced no psychoactive side effects, and the World Health Organisation wrote in a report that CBD demonstrates no ability for abuse or dependence potential (4, 5).

CBD interacts with the body a little differently from THC, and this difference is thought to be the reason why one can get you high while the other can’t. THC largely induces its effects on the body through the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. CBD, on the other hand, can only weakly bind to these receptors. Instead, CBD largely induces its effects on the body by binding to non-cannabinoid receptors and acting on other receptor pathways.

Can you drive on CBD oil?

Because CBD can’t get you high, it is largely safe to drive after consuming CBD oil. Substances like alcohol and THC cannot be consumed while driving due to their ability to impact perception, reaction and overall driving skills.

In terms of legality, CBD is legal to consume in the UK, provided that it meets a few standards. For CBD to be legal, it must be produced from specific hemp lines that contain no more than 0.2% THC (6). So long as you consume legally regulated CBD oil, then you are safe to drive on it. UK law prohibits driving on illegal drugs or legal drugs that impact your ability to drive. So long as CBD does not impact your driving abilities, then it is legal to use while driving (7).

When to worry about driving on CBD oil

While it is legal to drive on CBD oil, it is illegal to do so if CBD oil impacts your driving ability. CBD won’t impact you by inducing a high, but it can result in some other side effects that could impact your driving ability.

Side effects of CBD that you should be aware of include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Reduced appetite
  • Lethargy (8)

Some of the mild side effects of CBD will have no impact on your ability to drive. Reduced appetite, for example, is nothing to worry about while driving. However, dizziness and lethargy could impact your reaction time and focus. If you experience these side effects, then it’s best to stay away from driving until they subside.

Consult your doctor about how CBD might impact your ability to drive if you are concerned about how it might affect you, especially if you are taking other medications.

Drug testing and CBD

While it is legal to consume CBD in the UK and drive, it is not legal to consume THC and drive. Because of this, it’s important to make sure that you are consuming CBD free of THC.

Purchasing CBD oil from a non-regulated source could mean that you’re consuming CBD oil with THC levels high enough to show up on a drug test. Even if the THC content is low and doesn’t impact your driving abilities, having THC in your system is illegal and may be considered driving under the influence if you were tested while driving.

To ensure your CBD oil comes from a reputable source, look for products that are produced under UK regulations and from approved sellers. The best option is to purchase CBD oil that contains no THC, CBD isolate.

The bottom line

When it comes to driving, you want to be sure that any substances you consume are safe and won’t impact your driving abilities. CBD itself is non-intoxicating, so you don’t have to worry about experiencing a high after consuming it. But CBD is derived from hemp and cannabis, making it slightly more complicated. Purchasing legal and regulated CBD will help to ensure that your CBD has only trace amounts of THC, the compound that will get you high.

While CBD can’t get you high, it can impact you in other ways. We recommend testing how CBD affects you first to see if it will impact your driving ability. As always, be sure to consult your doctor if you are concerned about the possible side effects of CBD.

Sara Niedler PhD Medically reviewed for KLORIS by Sarah Neidler, PhD