We ask a lawyer and a police officer; can you take CBD oil and drive? Is it safe? What if I'm stopped by the Police? As CBD is getting more popular, it's important to understand not only its effects but also the legal ramifications of taking it. So, can you drive after using CBD?
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.
Its explosive rise in popularity has set a new standard for food supplements. 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. This has resulted in many people asking the question: Is it safe and legal to drive after taking CBD?
CBD & driving: fast facts
- You can drive legally after vaping or consuming CBD as long as you are fit to do so.
- If the CBD you take contains too much THC, this could cause you to fail a drug driving test.
- You can technically smoke CBD and drive but hemp flower is illegal in the UK.
- The DVLA makes no mention of CBD within their available information.
- There are no laws in the UK that prohibit taking CBD and driving.
Is it legal to drive after taking CBD oil?
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid and won’t impair your ability to drive. This has been proven in a 2020 study undertaken at Maastricht University and led by the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics.
Dr Thomas Arkell the lead author said: “These findings indicate for the first time that CBD, when given without THC, does not affect a subject’s ability to drive. That’s great news for those using or considering treatment using CBD-based products.”
We also spoke with cannabis lawyer Robert Jappie, a partner at London law firm Ince. We asked him if it is legal to drive after consuming CBD, he said:
“Yes, it is legal. CBD is not a controlled substance and has no psychotropic effect. Therefore, a person’s driving would not be impaired by the consumption of CBD.”
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. The UK drug driving laws are clear that driving under the influence of THC is illegal.
THC is the cannabinoid that gives cannabis its intoxicating qualities and trace amounts are found in full-spectrum CBD products. The best CBD producers use legal industrial hemp varieties with less than 0.2% THC. They also invest in specially designed extraction techniques to reduce this further, ensuring the oils for sale comply with UK law
By checking 3rd party 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 after taking CBD.
What happens if I am stopped by the police?
This 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. 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 of the steps outlined in our “will CBD cause me to fail a drug test” article to ensure THC doesn’t build up in your system.
We also asked Robert Jappie what to do if you were stopped by the Police after consuming CBD, he said:
“Don’t say anything. CBD is perfectly legal and you don’t need to volunteer any information to the police.”
He also went on to add that he was not aware of any “occurrence” where someone had failed a drug driving test after consuming CBD.
Can you take CBD and drive safely?
While CBD is known to be safe, it is always important to pay attention to how any new food supplement affects you personally.
Every 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.”
While CBD is classes as 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 from reliable brands. Specifically, companies with a good track record of happy customers and evidence of low THC content.
He emphasised that the current lack of regulatory enforcement presented the most significant risk. 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.”
CBD is non-intoxicating, making it safe to drive after consuming, but you must always be aware of how it affects you personally.
Choose a brand that has low levels of THC to be on the safe side and 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 be behind the wheel, so, be aware of how you feel before setting off. 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.
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Tom Russell writes extensively about CBD oil and other groundbreaking food supplements. He and his wife share their home with two daughters and a lifetime’s collection of books.
February 10, 2020
Hey Ron, if cannabis was legalised I wouldn’t expect this amount to change unless they found conclusive evidence to prove you were not impaired with a higher level of THC in your system.
How long THC stays in your system also has a lot to do with how often you consume, how much you consume and also the method of testing. Blood testing which is the method described is around 1-2 days. If someone is consuming large amounts daily this can take much longer.
There was some testing in the US where they checked micrograms per ml straight after smoking where it could show 38 micrograms per ml and within two hours is under 5micrograms (the legal limit in Colorado and Washington) per ml. After 12 hours you should be safe unless your consumption is high.
February 08, 2020
What happens if it is legalised, how much THC can you have in your system then? I heard it takes 6 weeks or more to totally get out of your system, so driving a car one week after smoking weed could end you up in jail? This is messed up! 2 microgrammes in your blood is the limit. They would need to increase loads this to make it legal to drive 12 hours after a blaze?
Can You Drive on CBD Oil in the UK?
As CBD is growing in popularity , many people are taking it for its soothing effects — so much so that some are opting to supplement or replace their alcohol consumption with CBD products . However, its pervasiveness, combined with a great deal of misinformation, has raised some questions regarding its legality in a number of fields.
One of these queries is whether you can drive on CBD oil in the UK. Driving under the influence is a hot topic, especially since the 2015 legal change that has made it easier for police to catch and prosecute perpetrators.
This has caused massive confusion in relation to CBD, as its association with THC — they are both extracted from cannabis plant species — this has meant that many are unclear whether it’s considered to be one of the 16 substances mentioned in the law. We’re here to clear up any uncertainty around CBD oil and driving.
Is it legal to drive after taking CBD oil?
CBD is a legal substance in the UK as long as it follows regulatory guidelines, such as not exceeding 0.2% THC . When you purchase CBD oil from a trusted, regulated supplier like TRIP, you can be assured that the compound will not get you high .
Due to this, it is not considered a controlled substance, and therefore, taking CBD oil and driving is completely legal in the UK. It is nothing like driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, including cannabis-based drugs containing THC that appear on the police drug list.
That said, it’s important to stress that many products marketed as legal CBD oils on the market unfortunately don’t withstand these claims. Because THC is, in fact, a controlled substance, if the CBD product you’re taking has a higher level than the regulator allows (especially in case you’ve consumed large quantities of it), you may very well be found to have it in your system. In the event you plan to drive while taking CBD, it’s therefore vital that you opt for a trusted product.
Can you drive safely on CBD?
While driving on CBD is completely legal, as responsible individuals, we all want to make sure we are not putting ourselves or anyone else in harm’s way. Operating a vehicle after taking CBD, then, is more than just about the legality of it, but also about whether it’s prudent to do so.
A 2020 study published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association found no evidence that CBD is not safe for driving. However, the compound impacts people differently, so it’s not recommended to drive the first time you take it. This is true for any type of supplement or medicine you consume.
If you experience any side effects from taking CBD, such as tiredness, for example, you should carefully consider whether it is safe for you to drive a car, and perhaps reduce your dosage if you do feel this way.
What happens if the police stop you?
As long as you exclusively purchase your CBD from trustworthy manufacturers, and are mindful of driving if you feel unfit to do so, it is highly unlikely that you will get pulled over by the police.
However, if this happens and an officer questions your condition, they may request that you take a drug test or perform some tasks to determine whether you’re under the influence. To fail a cannabis drug screening, you’d need to have over two micrograms of THC per millilitre of blood, which is almost impossible to reach with legal CBD. You also do not have to disclose that you have taken CBD.
CBD & driving: Fast facts
- You can drive legally after consuming CBD
- Some CBD products may contain THC, so it’s important to ensure your supplier is trusted to avoid failing a drug test
- There is no mention of CBD under any driving laws
- CBD is perfectly legal and you do not have to disclose taking it
- If CBD causes any side-effects that may impair your ability to drive, you should avoid it
CBD is a non-psychotropic compound (meaning it does not get you high) that has many purported benefits . However, some manufacturers don’t extract it appropriately, so some products may contain higher levels of THC than is legally allowed.
While driving and taking CBD is legal in the UK, you should always ensure you’re obtaining it from a reliable supplier. At the end of the day, being fit to drive is your responsibility, so if you’re not feeling well — you should avoid getting behind the wheel.