Can you take CBD oil and drive?
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CBD has been in the public eye for almost a decade now, but some people still have questions about its effects. One of the biggest, especially amongst sceptics who haven't tried it, is whether one can safely or legally drive a car while under the influence of CBD. Let's take a look at the facts.
Today, most people are familiar with CBD. Even if your friends haven't mentioned it, you’ve probably seen some in a health food store or noticed a CBD oil billboard on the road. Some people, though, are still confused about what it is and why it’s used, only knowing its association with cannabis. For those uncomfortable with marijuana, CBD oil can raise red flags, particularly when it comes to driving. Is it safe to take CBD oil and drive? Is it legal? Although CBD is linked to Cannabis sativa, as we'll discuss, it's quite different from THC, and not at all dangerous.
WHAT IS CBD?
Let's backtrack a little, though. CBD, known scientifically as cannabidiol, is one of the 113 identified cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis. Second to THC, CBD is the most abundant cannabinoid. In hemp and high-CBD cannabis strains, though, it's the most dominant. Accordingly, since being discovered in 1940, it's been the subject of somewhat extensive scientific and clinical research. Through that research, scientists have learned some key similarities and differences between CBD and other cannabinoids.
IS CBD DIFFERENT FROM THC?
One of the main goals of early research was understanding the relationship between CBD and THC. Although both cannabinoids derive from the same base cannabinoid acid, they act quite differently. CBD, like THC and CBC (another cannabinoid), starts out as geranyl pyrophosphate, which interacts with olivetolic acid to become CBGA. Then, depending on the enzyme that interacts with it, CBGA can become THCA, CBDA, or CBCA. CBDA, upon being heated or exposed to UV light (decarboxylated), then becomes CBD. THC, however, results from THCA’s decarboxylation.
The differences continue when we observe how each cannabinoid interacts with the brain. THC, unlike CBD, binds directly with cannabinoid receptors (predominantly CB1 receptors) to exert its psychoactive effects. CBD, on the other hand, stimulates the endocannabinoid system indirectly and triggers it to produce beneficial endocannabinoids—cannabinoids our body produces naturally. In this way, rather than feeling the effects of CBD itself, we're feeling the effects of our own chemical output.
HOW DOES CBD MAKE YOU FEEL?
The main difference between THC and CBD is how they make us feel. THC has a psychoactive effect that makes us feel euphoric, relaxed, giggly, unfocused, and sometimes sluggish. What you feel, of course, is dependent on your own body and situation, but those are some of the most common effects.
CBD, however, has no psychoactive effect on the user. People who take it might report a soothing sensation, but they’ll never feel any sort of "high". Side effects like dizziness and fatigue can occur at high doses, but these are rare given the required intake.
WILL FULL-SPECTRUM CBD OIL AFFECT DRIVING?
So, will a full-spectrum CBD oil, or any CBD for that matter, affect your driving? Well, unless it makes you especially tired or sick, you should have no trouble driving after taking CBD oil. This, of course, is provided that the CBD oil producer is controlling the THC content. If produced correctly, there should be less than 0.2% THC in any given CBD product. This deems it legal to consume, and the negligible presence of THC isn't strong enough to induce any kind of high.
The industry is still young, though, so regulation is still a challenge. For that reason, it's very important to source independently tested and reviewed CBD oil from producers who can back up all their claims.
CBD IS WELL TOLERATED WITH A GOOD SAFETY PROFILE
Wrapping things up, if you find a quality-tested CBD product and take a regular dose, you should be more than fine to operate a vehicle. Besides the potential side effects we mentioned earlier, CBD has a thoroughly verified safety profile. The World Health Organisation has deemed it safe for consumption, and studies have found no major adverse effects, although drug interactions are possible. As long as you know CBD oil doesn't affect your energy level or health, you can safely drive.