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CBD driving laws: Is it legal and safe?

Whether you’re new to taking CBD or new to driving, you may have some questions or concerns about CBD driving laws in the UK. At The Extract, we believe knowledge is power and with it, you can make informed decisions that are right for you. Therefore, we’ve put together a few of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to CBD oil and driving, and we have answered them for you.

Is it legal to drive on CBD oil?

Firstly, let us get down to brass tacks and answer the biggest and most important question when it comes to CBD driving laws – is it legal to drive on CBD? We’re happy to report that yes, it is completely legal to drive after taking CBD, provided the product adheres to legal requirements.

Current UK legislation states that CBD products can be legally produced, sold, and consumed once they adhere to strict regulations. Firstly, CBD oil must be extracted from EU-approved industrial hemp plants that contain no more than 0.2% THC. Equally, each finished product must contain less than 1 mg THC, regardless of the size.

THC, also known as tetrahydrocannabinol, is another cannabinoid found in the hemp plant. THC, unlike CBD, has psychoactive properties. Thus, it is considered to be a controlled substance according to The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. If consumed, THC can impair your motor skills, as well as your cognitive function. This, in turn, affects your ability to make decisions and react quickly. In short, it majorly affects your ability to drive safely.

However, CBD products that adhere to legal requirements will only contain trace amounts of THC, which are not enough to have any psychoactive effects on you. Therefore, we urge you to make sure your CBD product contains the allowed levels of THC to ensure you’re obeying CBD driving laws.

You may be interested in reading our blog on: Is Weed Legal in UK?

Can you get behind the wheel right after taking CBD?

There are no CBD driving laws regarding how long you need to wait before getting behind the wheel, after taking your daily dose. Therefore, it's completely up to you. If you’re used to taking CBD, and you’re not experiencing any adverse side effects or feeling sleepy, you can drive immediately after taking your daily dose.

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However, it’s never a good idea to get behind the wheel if you’re feeling drowsy, whether you have taken CBD or not. So, if you’re not feeling fully awake and alert, we suggest waiting before you drive. The amount of time that you need to wait will differ depending on your metabolism, how much you have taken and the strength of the product that you consumed. We recommend having a caffeinated drink or a rest before proceeding to drive.

Generally speaking, CBD should not make you feel sleepy or drowsy but if it does, there could be a number of causes. Feeling sleepy after taking CBD is usually an indication that you’re not taking the correct dosage. Finding the right dosage for you is a case of trial and error, as it differs slightly from person to person. However, feeling drowsy indicates that you’re taking too much, and we recommend lowering the dosage. You should opt for a lower strength, take less CBD oil and not as often.

Learn more about: CBD Oil Dosage Guide

Is there any reason why it might be illegal to drive after taking CBD?

According to UK CBD driving laws, once your CBD products are in line with regulations, it’s perfectly legal to drive after taking them. It is worth noting that UK drug-driving laws were updated in 2015 though. The updated laws provide drivers with a list of drugs that are illegal to consume whilst driving. This list consists of 8 illegal substances, including cannabis, in addition to 8 prescription medications.

As we know, cannabis is classed as an illegal substance in the UK because it contains THC. Therefore, if you’re taking CBD products that also contain high levels of THC, it’s against CBD driving laws too.

If you would like to know more about CBD driving laws, you can find everything you need to know about UK law and CBD right here.

If I take a drug test, will CBD cause me to fail?

Generally speaking, it’s unlikely that you will be stopped for a roadside drug test unless police have reason to believe that you’re driving under the influence or you're driving dangerously. However, if you are stopped for a drug test, you’re legally obligated to participate. Refusal will mean an escorted trip to the police station to be tested.

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cbd driving laws

In terms of CBD driving laws, roadside drug tests don’t usually test for the presence of any cannabinoids, only THC. This is why you need to take care when selecting your products. Even though there are no CBD driving laws restricting the use of CBD, if you accidentally consume a product with illegally high THC levels it could cause you to fail. However, if you’re taking products that only contain trace amounts of THC, you won’t fail roadside drug tests.

If you test positive for THC, or other illegal substances, you will be taken to the police station for additional testing, which usually means a blood test. In the UK, drug-driving, like drink-driving, is taken very seriously. The legal penalties for drug-driving depend on the circumstances and range between spending time in prison, having your license revoked or facing hefty fines.

You may also like to read: Delta 8 THC

Err on the side of caution

To make sure the CBD products that you’re consuming are in line with current legislation, you should only source them from reliable retailers. These retailers will be well-known and respected within the CBD industry.

Equally, they will provide customers with Certificates of Analysis (COA) for each of their products. This certificate is simply a report generated by a third-party testing facility when they test products. This report will provide customers with details about the cannabinoids detected and the potency of each of them. Therefore, you can use it to ensure the product you’re buying is safe and adheres to legal requirements.

It’s not a legal requirement to provide customers with COAs for all products, however, it is the mark of a trustworthy brand. It shows that they stand by their products, and they’re dedicated to providing transparency and high-quality products for their customers.

If you’re still worried about CBD driving laws and drug testing, you can opt for THC-free CBD products. As aforementioned, some CBD products contain trace amounts of THC (1 mg THC per finished product) and they’re known as full-spectrum CBD products. This is because they contain the full spectrum of naturally occurring cannabinoids.

If you’d prefer to err on the side of caution, you can opt for CBD oils made from broad-spectrum extracts. These are products that have been filtered to remove THC. Alternatively, you can opt for CBD isolates. As the name suggests, they only contain CBD and no other cannabinoids.

You may also want to know about the CBD Laws Worldwide.

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Are there any other side effects of CBD that may affect my ability to drive?

CBD side effects are extremely rare, but some mild cases have been reported. As we mentioned, feeling drowsy can be a side effect of taking CBD.  Some others include:

  • Feeling nauseous
  • An upset stomach
  • A dry mouth
  • Reduced appetite
  • Fatigue

Generally speaking, fatigue and drowsiness could be down to taking too much CBD oil, taking it too often or taking too high a dosage. As previously discussed, you can adjust your dosage to counteract this. The other side effects, although they’re unlikely to affect your ability to drive, may also be avoided by adjusting your dosage.

If you’re new to taking CBD, you should start on a lower dosage and work your way up gradually, over the course of a few weeks. This will give you a chance to get used to taking CBD, and it will give your body time to adjust. This reduces the likelihood of experiencing adverse effects.

It’s worth noting that CBD can interfere with some prescription medications too. Typically, CBD can make medications, like blood thinners, less effective. However, it could react with your medication, making you feel drowsy and thus, affecting your ability to drive. If you want to try CBD, but you’re taking prescription medication, you should speak to your medical provider beforehand to make sure it is safe to do so.

You may also like to read about: CBD For Cyclists

Key Takeaways: CBD driving laws

So, can you drive on CBD oil? Yes, according to current CBD driving laws in the UK, it is legal to take CBD and drive, provided the products that you’re using are in line with regulations. This means that you will need to take care when you’re selecting your CBD product of choice, making sure that it only contains trace amounts of THC, if any THC at all. This is because THC is a controlled substance in the UK, due to its psychoactive properties. Similarly, consuming THC can impair your ability to drive safely and thus, should be avoided.

If you’re required to take a roadside drug test, taking CBD before driving should not cause you to fail. This is because it’s not a controlled substance in the UK and because most roadside drug tests don’t test for the presence of the compound. However, drug tests will detect the presence of THC, so taking a CBD product with high levels of THC will cause you to fail.

If you’re worried about THC levels in CBD products, we urge you to refer to the COA, which should be available for each product. This report will show you exactly how much THC and CBD is in each product. Alternatively, you can opt for THC-free products by choosing broad-spectrum or isolate products.

Also Read:  Medical Cannabis UK – Everything you need to know about Medical Marijuana

Breffni O'Brien

Breffni is a chef-turned-content creator. When she's not collecting houseplants or old books, Breffni can be found writing for her sustainable living blog or knitting. She is also fond of olives, interior design, and exploring the great outdoors.

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