CBD oil products were used by as many as 6 million Brits in 2019, and this number is increasing.
Although CBD is legal and non-intoxicating, some people are concerned whether it’s safe and permissible to drive after taking CBD.
This is an especially timely question because the British government made changes to drug driving laws in 2015, giving police the power to test and charge drivers believed to have taken certain drugs in excess amounts.
Here’s what you need to know before considering taking CBD oil and driving.
Is CBD Safe to Take CBD Before Driving?
CBD is a non-intoxicating substance, so it doesn’t cause the “high” associated with cannabis. It’s also considered safe by the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, CBD may cause minor side effects, including:
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
These side effects were only reported in studies using fairly high doses of CBD — 300 mg and higher — so most people are unlikely to experience them.
Still, if you’re new to CBD oil, it’s best to try it out and see how it makes you feel before considering driving. Once you verify that it doesn’t make you tired, sleepy, or impair your ability to drive in any other way, you can safely take it before getting behind the wheel.
Also, you should be careful when raising your CBD dose. Again, take some time to make sure it doesn’t make you sleepy or tired so you can safely take that dose before driving.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
CBD products derived from hemp — a variety of cannabis containing 0.2% or less of THC —
Are perfectly legal to sell and consume in the United Kingdom.
But things aren’t that simple because CBD products can also contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinol (CBN), two cannabinoids that are considered controlled substances in the UK.
THC, in particular, is illegal in most parts of the world because it’s the main compound responsible for the mind-altering effects of cannabis. Under UK law, CBD products can contain no more than 1 mg of THC per container.
It’s best to make sure your CBD product meets these requirements by only buying from high-quality brands and taking a look at third-party lab test documents that list the precise levels of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids.
As long as your CBD oil product meets all of these requirements, it’s legal to drive after using it. Having said that, there’s one last legal loophole to be aware of if you decide to take CBD before driving.
Police and Roadside Testing for THC
The 2015 changes to drug driving laws in the UK stipulate that your blood cannot contain more than a certain amount of illegal and prescription drugs. THC is one such drug, with a legal limit of 2 micrograms (µg) per litre of blood.
The law also allows police to pull you over and administer a roadside blood test to determine whether you’ve taken any drugs. If your blood levels of THC are above the legal limit, you will be taken to the police station for further testing.
Because CBD oil products can contain a small amount of THC (1 mg maximum per container), it’s theoretically possible for your blood to contain more than 2 µg of THC per litre after using them.
While this does create a small risk when driving after using a CBD product, your actual chances of getting in trouble are extremely low.
For one, CBD products don’t cause any intoxication, so a police officer would have no reason to suspect that you’re driving under the influence of drugs.
Even if the police did decide to pull you over and test you, it’s unlikely that the amount of THC in your CBD oil is enough to show up on the roadside test. The test doesn’t look for CBD and only checks for THC.
Besides, many CBD oil products sold in the UK are processed to remove all traces of THC. So even though you could theoretically get in trouble, realistically, there isn’t much to worry about.
Further reading: Will I pass a drug test if I use CBD oil?
CBD Oil and Driving: How to Stay Safe
In short, it’s safe and legal to drive after taking CBD oil in the UK in most cases. However, if you want to be absolutely certain that you don’t break any laws or endanger yourself or others, be sure to do the following:
- Only buy products that are completely free of THC. These products will typically be labelled as “CBD isolate” (pure CBD) or “broad-spectrum CBD” (an extract with all traces of THC removed).
- Only buy from reputable, trusted CBD brands. Such companies will always provide third-party lab test reports to show the cannabinoid levels in their products. You should also look at these third-party reports yourself to confirm that the CBD product in question contains no THC.
- If you’re new to CBD, check how it affects you before driving.
- If you take CBD and feel tired or sleepy, don’t drive.
We hope this cleared up any confusion about driving after taking CBD oil. Stay safe out there!