January 12, 2022

Is It OK To Drive if You've Taken CBD?

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Is using CBD and driving one of those situations?

Keep reading for a quick rundown of things to keep in mind regarding CBD usage and getting behind the wheel of a car (or, really, operating any kind of heavy machinery). 

The CBD Experience & Driving

It’s plausible that you’d wonder about CBD’s properties in the context of driving. These are two common areas of concern that CBD-loving’ drivers ask about:

CBD Side Effects

In general, for most healthy adults, CBD is well tolerated and non-toxic. Side effects and other adverse reactions are relatively rare, minor, and short-lived.

However, side effects are possible. Among the most common are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Stomachache or diarrhea
  • Appetite changes
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness or fatigue

When taking CBD, you should be on watch for anything that’s going to interfere with your ability to physically maneuver or control your vehicle or impair your ability to pay attention to the world around you.

How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System?

The active effects of CBD can stick around for roughly two to six hours. So, if you’re planning to keep the tires at the curb while you’re blissing on CBD — this is a realistic estimate of how long you’ll be parked.

Is It Safe To Drive After Taking CBD?

Current research indicates that — because CBD isn’t intoxicating — it shouldn’t present a driving risk.(1)

That said, it still ultimately depends on you. Everyone’s body processes CBD differently. And the type, amount, formulation, frequency, and timing of your CBD all factor in.

So, while it may be safe for one person to drive after taking CBD, it might not be safe for someone else to drive. Furthermore, it may be a different story each time CBD is consumed if different products are used or it’s taken in different ways.

You should also consider whether or not you:

  • Have other supplements or medications, alcohol, etc. in your system at the same time as the CBD. Other substances can alter the effects of your CBD.
  • Are dealing with a chronic health issue, sick, or sleepy. If you aren’t in peak condition, CBD could behave differently than your usual smooth ride.
  • Are overstressed or distracted. This isn’t really about the CBD. You probably can’t drive safely if you’re not in a mental state in which you’re able to be aware of yourself, your car, the roads, traffic, pedestrians, etc.

Does CBD Slow Reaction Time?

Several studies have shown that CBD does not slow reaction time or success. And, if you’re taking CBD that has THC in it — the CBD may actually mitigate the effects of THC (which does impact reaction success).(2,3)

So, CBD won’t reduce the speed at which you can hit that break pedal. BUT, if you experience any of those side effects mentioned above — like fatigue — that could certainly turn your normal hare-like reactions to tortoise-like reactions. Moral of the story: Know thyself on CBD and act appropriately.

Does CBD Impair Your Driving Abilities?

Nope. Plenty of research has been done on this, too.(4) As long as you’re consuming a low-THC version of CBD, you should be good to go. A 2020 Dutch study found that CBD didn’t cause lane weaving or any other impairments on participants’ driving.

Is It Legal To Drive After Taking CBD?

In most cases, yes. Assuming you’re in a place where it’s legal for you to have consumed federally-legal CBD — you should be in the free and clear.

Keep in mind, though, that it’s still illegal to drive while intoxicated. In some states, DUI laws may still apply — even though CBD isn’t a controlled substance.

Am I Allowed To Drive After Taking CBD?

Again, the usual answer is gonna be a waffle-y yes. Even if you are lawfully permitted to drive after taking CBD, there are definitely circumstances when you would still not be allowed to. For example, many jobs that involve driving or operating equipment have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to substance use, even CBD. Certain military or governmental employees may also have restriction on CBD and driving.

If there’s even a shadow of a question about this in your scenario — check to make sure.

If You’re Gonna Drive — Tips For Safer CBD Use

We aren’t saying you should or can (or shouldn’t or can’t) drive while on CBD. But you’re going to do what you’re going to do. So here are some suggestions to create the safest possible sitch:

  • Your best bet is to establish your personal CBD routine. At the beginning, take your CBD when you know you won’t have to go anywhere. See how you feel. If you don’t have any dizziness or drowsiness — and the CBD doesn’t have you feeling too sleepy or calm — you might feel comfortable driving.
  • Be mindful of the type of CBD and kinds of products you’re using. The lower the THC content in your CBD, the safer it should be relative to driving. Ingested CBD products will have a slower but longer course through your system than vaped or sublingual CBD formulations.
  • Always consult with your doctor before starting CBD if you take prescription drugs or have an ongoing medical concern. You may have health factors that — when paired with CBD — may affect your driving abilities.
  • Always always always err on the side of caution. If you’re feeling even the tiniest inkling of iffiness — do not drive. Repeat that a few times. It’s that

Can You Drive While Taking CBD? Maybe….

Generally speaking, it’s both safe and legal to drive after using CBD. Certain jobs and other factors may, however, make it so that it’s not OK to operate a vehicle while using CBD.

Before you don your driving gloves and hit the autoroute — know what’s safe and permitted for you.

CRUISE ON OVER TO THE CBD SHOP

References

  1. Hicks, T. (2020). Does CBD Impair Your Driving Abilities? Experts, Researchers Disagree. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/does-cbd-impair-your-driving-abilities-experts-researchers-disagree
  2. Jacobs, DS, et al. (2016). Acute and chronic effects of cannabidiol on Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC)-induced disruption in stop signal task performance. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1037/pha0000081
  3. Belgrave, BE, et al. (1979). The effect of cannabidiol, alone and in combination with ethanol, on human performance. Psychopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf00496070
  4. Doheny, K. (2020, December 2). Study: CBD from Marijuana Doesn’t Impair Driving. WebMD; WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/news/20201202/study-cbd-from-marjiuana-doesnt-impair-driving


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