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Are you allowed to drive after taking CBD?

Since cannabis has been banned for so long, the conversation about driving under the influence has never really cropped up like it has with driving and alcohol. However, with more and more people giving cannabis product a try, especially non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD), it’s a question that certainly needs to be addressed.

First off, it’s important to distinguish between the sort of cannabis that you’d find in a recreational dispensary, which makes you high, and CBD products which are strictly non-psychoactive, and have no mind-altering effects. As far as mental effects go, all that CBD will do is improve your mood by directing anandamide, an antidepressant, into the brain where it can interact with CB1 receptors.

While driving under the influence of THC would never be recommended because the compound can cause cognitive impairment (similarly to alcohol in that sense), the situation on driving after taking CBD is much less clear. The studies conducted into CBD have shown that the compound does not negatively affect cognitive function, however in large doses it can have strong sedative effects. Operating any heavy machinery after consuming a sedative is perhaps not the best idea. But what does the law say on CBD and driving?

There is no law in the United States against driving after taking CBD, however that doesn’t mean that you should just medicate and get straight behind the wheel. Becoming acclimatized with how various doses of CBD react in your body will give you a clue as to whether you’d feel comfortable driving. If you find that the CBD is making you overly sleepy, then it’s best to stay on the safe side.

However, it should be noted that CBD is a biphasic compound, meaning that it reacts differently in small doses than it does to high doses. In low doses, CBD can be anything but a sedative, and actually help to enhance concentration levels. Don’t take that as a go-ahead to start combining CBD with driving, but as an indication that CBD isn’t necessarily going to impair you in the car.

Research into the endocannabinoid system has found that CBD is essential to keeping the body in homeostasis, a state where all physical and psychological bodily functions are working properly. Therefore, if you’re feeling slightly anxious, depressed, stressed or in pain, a dose of CBD could help return you to your balanced self. Beyond regulating the ECS, CBD is an effective painkiller (combatting neuropathic and inflammatory pain), can be used to treat skin conditions with no obvious cure (such as psoriasis and acne) and can help those suffering from insomnia.

About full-spectrum CBD oil

Hemp-derived, full-spectrum CBD oil products will likely contain traces from THC – this is because the oil is made using the entire extract of the industrial hemp plant. Hemp is a cannabis sativa strain that contains minimal levels of THC. Hemp-based products that consist of no more than 0.3 percent THC are legal nationwide.

But while THC may be present, it’s found in such small concentrations that it does not produce any noticeable psychoactive effects or inhibit cognitive function. Moreover, CBD has some intriguing anti-psychotic properties that may not only prove useful in the fight against psychosis, but as a way of reducing the mind-altering effects of THC.

However, to conclude that point, there’s no risk of a full-spectrum CBD oil causing you problems on the THC front.

Interestingly, the relatively pro-cannabis country of Switzerland is in quite the conundrum over cannabis and the differences between CBD and THC. Cannabis with less than one percent THC (mostly CBD-rich, low-THC strains) is permissible, and citizens can get their product tested if seize – providing it contains less than the maximum THC allowed, it has to be returned.

Final thoughts

Driving after taking CBD is certainly an intriguing question and is something that law enforcement will likely have to clarify in the near future as CBD becomes more widely used. Given our understanding of both THC and CBD, it’s apparent that while driving under the influence of the former is a no-no, but that there are no pertinent risks associated with the latter.

The CBD experience is not the easiest to explain, and without consuming an oil, edible or concentrate for yourself, you can only guess how your body will react to it. It’s probably best to medicate with CBD in the privacy of your own home first, assess how light, moderate and strong doses affect your co-ordination, and then decide from there.


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