CBD Oil and Driving in the UK

by Tim W. Shaw January 13, 2020

CBD Oil and Driving in the UK

CBD oil won’t get you high, has a good safety profile and has been tried by nearly 10% of people in the UK (Ibbetson, 2019).

Car driving through countrysideIts explosive rise in popularity has set a new standard for food supplements and is supported by the incredibly wide array of products available. Even though you can pop into your local coffee shop and pick up a CBD latte, its association with cannabis means that many people remain, understandably, cautious.

In 2015, the law changed making it easier for police to catch and prosecute drug drivers (Think). This has resulted in many people asking the question: Is it safe and legal to drive after taking CBD? If you are considering using CBD oil and want to know more or take it regularly and want the full story, let’s take a detailed look at CBD and driving.

Is it legal to drive after taking CBD oil?

THC-and-CBNCBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid and won't impair your ability to drive. However, most CBD oils contain traces of other cannabinoids including CBN and THC. Both are controlled substances and mustn't make up more than 1mg of any container of CBD (Home Office, 2018).

THC is the cannabinoid that gives cannabis its intoxicating qualities. Trace amounts can be found in some hemp extracts (full-spectrum products for instance) depending on the raw material and the effectiveness of the extraction process. The best CBD producers use legal industrial hemp varieties with less than 0.2% THC (McAuley). They also invest in specially designed extraction techniques to reduce this further.

CBD products can then be sent for analysis by an independent lab. The results confirm the amount of THC found in the sample and can be made available to customers. By checking lab results and researching the brand, you can be confident that they contain only traces of THC and CBN, making it both legal and safe to drive. 

What happens if I am stopped by the police?

English Police CarThis is unlikely to happen, but if an officer believes that you are unfit to drive, they may ask you to do a 'field impairment test' or complete a roadside drug screening kit (Home Office, N.D.). The test is a series of quick tasks such as walking in a straight line, which will give an indication if you are intoxicated. This may be followed up with a drug kit which tests for cannabis and cocaine.

A Police Constable told us that you will only fail a drug screening check if you have more than 2 micrograms of THC per ml of blood. "The blood test results show the micrograms of THC per ml of blood. So if the thing you [take] doesn't contain THC then it won't come back in the blood […]. So [take] all the CBD you like, if it has no THC, you won't go over the limit in theory." You can take some simple steps to make sure that the CBD you use doesn’t contain too much THC or that it doesn’t build up in your system. 

Can you take CBD and drive safely?

While CBD is known to be safe, it is always important to notice how any new food supplement affects you personally (WHO, 2018). Cannabinoids respond to the body chemistry of each person in a way that is unique to them.

Safe DrivingEvery time you drive, it is necessary to make the personal assessment that you are fit to drive, for any reason. UK law states:

"It's illegal to drive if either:

you're unfit to do so because you're on legal or illegal drugs.

you have certain levels of illegal drugs in your blood (even if they have not affected your driving).

    Legal drugs are prescription or over-the-counter medicines. If you're taking them and not sure if you should drive, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or healthcare professional." (Home Office, N.D.)

    Regent Street Bus and Cab Marijuana LeavesWhile CBD is a food supplement and not a medicine, if you believe that you are unfit to drive, then don't. During a chat with us, a member of the East Anglian Police Force encouraged CBD users to stay safe by purchasing CBD from reliable brands. Specifically, companies with a good track record of happy customers and evidence of low THC content.

    He emphasised that the current unregulated market presented the most significant risk to the safety of taking CBD and driving. The potential for misleading or inaccurate labels could result in illegal levels of THC. "I don't think that the current market for CBD is well enough regulated and the product can vary in the amount of THC contained by a significant amount to be able to state with certainty that CBD is safe to use while driving."

    The officer went on the encourage drivers to be aware of their fitness to drive at any time. This applies whether you have taken a food supplement, over the counter medicine, prescription drug or are feeling unwell or tired. "Always avoid driving if you are feeling any effects that may impair your ability, while CBD in itself is not illegal, it doesn't take much imagination to see someone having a crash, a prosecutor finding out they use CBD and then a charge of driving while impaired or unfit (or similar) could be brought."

    Conclusion

    English Countryside RoadCBD oil is non-intoxicating, making it safe to drive after taking it but you must always be aware of how it affects you personally. The recommended brands have low levels of THC, so it is fully legal to drive after taking the recommended dose.

    Buy your CBD from retailers with:

    – Good reputations and a range of positive reviews

    – A policy of being honest about their products and processes

    – Third-party certificates available for each batch

    As a driver, you are responsible for your fitness to drive, so whenever trying anything new, be aware of how it makes you feel. Whether you feel strange after drinking a coffee, from an over the counter cold and flu remedy or are drowsy following a bad night, don't drive until the effects have entirely worn off.

    Car driving through forest

    References

    Home Office, (2018). Drug Licensing Factsheet- Cannabis, CBD and other cannabinoids. Retrieved from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/757786/factsheet-cannabis-cbd-and-cannabinoids-v1-3-2018.pdf 

    Home Office, (N.D.). Drugs and driving: the law. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/drug-driving-law

    Ibbetson, C. (October 18, 2019). Quarter of Britons tempted by cannabis-extract products. Retrieved from https://yougov.co.uk/topics/health/articles-reports/2019/10/18/quarter-britons-tempted-cannabis-extract-products

    McAuley, F. (N.D.). Cream of the Crop. Retrieved from https://www.cla.org.uk/cream-crop#

    Think, (N.D.). Drug Driving. Retrieved from https://www.think.gov.uk/themes/drug-driving/

    World Health Organization, (June, 2018). Cannabidiol (CBD) Critical Review Report. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CannabidiolCriticalReview.pdf



    Tim W. Shaw
    Tim W. Shaw

    Author

    Tim W. Shaw writes extensively about CBD oil, cannabis and other groundbreaking food supplements. He and his wife share their home with two daughters and a lifetime’s collection of books.


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