CBD is an extremely popular product in the UK, with a market presence that has skyrocketed in recent years. The efforts of the CBD industry in innovating its products and improving its standards have made this once niche substance a recognisable name nationwide, and indeed worldwide.
With that popularity have come several concerns, misunderstandings and misconceptions. Chief amongst these revolves around the potential effects of taking CBD and how that may impair an individual. Can you take CBD and operate heavy machinery? Can you take CBD and still work as you would be able to otherwise? Perhaps most frequently asked, can you take CBD and drive?
These questions are entirely fair, but they do sadly come from a place of inherent misunderstanding. Due to its source many people mistake CBD for something illegal, or otherwise attribute certain intoxicating effects to it. Can you legally drive after taking CBD oil? To answer that we’ll look at exactly how CBD works, its effects, as well as UK law and the steps you can take to ensure that you’re driving safely whilst still keeping up a satisfying CBD routine.
CAN YOU DRIVE ON CBD OIL UK: HOW DOES CBD WORK?
CBD works by influencing the endocannabinoid system, a naturally occurring set of receptors found throughout the human body. CBD will be the primary cannabinoid in any CBD product, however many will contain other naturally occurring cannabinoids. These compounds, extracted from the same plants as CBD, work to enhance the effectiveness of the CBD via something called the entourage effect.
Among these other cannabinoids can be found THC, a psychoactive compound that also works through the endocannabinoid system. This is the compound that gets a person “high” in traditional cannabis products. They are included in full spectrum CBD products to serve the same role as other cannabinoids, enhancing CBD. To this end THC will always be in a concentration of less than 0.2% in any UK legal product. Although this small concentration works for the entourage effect, it is not enough to have any measurable psychoactive impact on the user.
CAN YOU DRIVE ON CBD OIL UK: IS IT SAFE?
CBD is non-intoxicating, carrying no inherent risk of impairment to either reaction-time or judgement. Because of this it is technically safe to drive whilst under the effects of CBD. The biggest concern around driving on CBD is the question of side effects.
CBD has several confirmed side effects, though the chances of experiencing them are relatively low. These include a slight redness to the eyes, an increase in hunger and feelings of fatigue. For obvious reasons fatigue is the primary cause for concern here. Driving whilst tired is always a dangerous thing that should be avoided when possible. If you’re new to using CBD oil, we recommend that you dose it a few times when you definitely will not be driving for a few hours. If this results in abnormal levels of tiredness, avoid driving whilst under the influence of CBD in the future. If it does not, then you should be just as capable of driving as you would under normal circumstances.
Certain CBD products, particularly E-liquids and edibles, have been known to cause a range of allergic reactions in users. These often originate from the additional components of these products rather than the CBD itself. They develop for the same reasons that any food product can trigger an allergic reaction in anyone. CBD oil has the advantage of being composed almost entirely of carrier oil and CBD, so the chances for a reaction are far lower. It is always important to check the ingredients of a product for any known allergens before using it.
There is a chance of developing an allergy to CBD itself, though this is even less common than experiencing side effects. In these cases reactions can range from minor irritation all the way to swelling and a difficulty breathing. If you experience any symptoms like these, stop taking cbd and seek medical assistance. Many people have no idea that they have an allergy to CBD until they try it, which is why we always encourage you to try CBD several times in a safe environment before incorporating it into your daily routine.
CAN YOU DRIVE ON CBD OIL UK: WHAT IS THE LAW?
The law in the UK regarding drug use and driving is very clear. Since 2015 it has been illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis and, specifically, THC. CBD however is entirely legal to drive under.
If a police officer suspects you are driving under the influence it is likely that they will pull you over and conduct a field impairment assessment. They may also ask you to be subject to a portable drugs test. These tests tend to measure specifically for the content of THC in your blood. Often they will be searching for a concentration of THC at 2mg or higher.
If you have purchased a legitimate CBD product from a reputable supplier and are using it correctly, you will never register at this level of THC. The 0.2% limit of THC content in UK legal products means that you would have to take a ridiculously large amount of any CBD product in order to reach these levels of THC intoxication. So long as you are properly dosing your CBD, there is no risk of triggering a positive result on a drugs test measuring for THC.
If you are especially concerned about this, you always have the option of switching to a broad spectrum CBD product. These lack THC entirely, carrying absolutely no risk of triggering a positive result on a THC-focused drugs test, even if you exceed the FSA’s limit of 70mg of CBD per-day.
CAN YOU DRIVE ON CBD OIL UK: PRODUCTS AND TIMING
If you regularly dose CBD there’s a good chance it will still be in your system when you drive. This is not illegal under UK law, but if it concerns you then we encourage you to take steps to ensure that the effects of CBD have subsided by the time you sit down at the wheel. A short period of experimentation where you time different doses of CBD will give you a clearer idea of how long it takes for CBD effects to fade. If you incorporate this knowledge into your dosing routine you may be able to avoid driving until the effects of your last dosage have faded completely.
On top of this, it is always advisable to avoid excessively large doses of CBD, or several doses in a row. Although we always encourage people to follow the FSA recommended limit of 70mg of CBD per-day, we understand that some CBD enthusiasts prefer to take a single, large dose in a day. This unfortunately increases your chances of fatigue, so in these cases we would encourage you to instead take small doses anytime you may be driving. This way you can leave those larger doses to the times when you definitely won’t be driving, ensuring both peace of mind and safety.
In some cases it may be advisable to seek other CBD products in order to allow you to drive with more confidence. CBD E-liquids, CBD edibles and CBD topicals all represent alternative options for dosing your CBD, each of which have a chance of effecting you in different ways. Many of these also use CBD isolate which, although there are no scientific studies confirming this, is generally believed to have less impactful than broad spectrum or full spectrum CBD.
CAN YOU DRIVE ON CBD OIL UK: SUMMARY
The question of whether or not you can drive whilst on CBD oil in the UK is very easily answered: yes, you can. Legally speaking CBD is not a controlled substance and is distinct from both cannabis and THC, so there is no law against driving whilst under its influence. The real question lies in whether or not you should.
CBD effects everyone differently, with some people using it to wake up in the morning whilst others use it to help them unwind in the evening. Whether or not you should drive in the UK whilst on CBD really can only be answered by your personal reaction to CBD. Some people will find that it makes them more susceptible to fatigue, in which case it should be avoided when driving. Others find that it helps them to focus, similar to caffeine, so using it whilst driving has no real drawback. Legally speaking, so long as you have purchased your CBD from a reputable supplier, you will never face criminal charges for driving under the influence of CBD.
Some people will specifically adapt their CBD oil routine to ensure that they are not under its effects whilst driving. For many people this is a fairly straightforward thing to achieve, with a short period of experimentation yielding an accurate understanding of how long their preferred dose continues to affect them for. Some people will go so far as to switch to another CBD product, whether from a full spectrum oil to a broad spectrum oil or a different CBD medium entirely, just to be certain that it carries no risk to their driving.
This is an entirely fair reaction. As with every aspect of your CBD experience, your safety and satisfaction are the top priorities. If you have any doubts about your ability to drive after taking CBD, do not drive. CBD is easy enough to work into even the busiest routines. There’s no point taking unnecessary risks, no matter how unlikely those risks may be.