This article was updated on the 21st November 2023.

Are you curious about whether you can drive on CBD oil in the UK? This question often arises due to the confusion between CBD oil and cannabis. Although both come from the same plant, they are distinctly different products with different legal implications. With the increasing use of CBD products, it’s crucial to understand the legalities, especially concerning roadside drug screening and driving laws.

Here, we’ll explore the facts about CBD oil, its legality in the UK, and how it pertains to driving, ensuring you stay informed about your rights and responsibilities.

In brief

Question: Can you drive on CBD?

Answer: Yes, you are legally allowed to drive when using CBD Oil.

What Exactly is CBD Oil?

Understanding the health benefits and properties of legal CBD oils derived from the hemp plant is key to knowing how they may impact daily activities, like driving after usage. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants like hemp and marijuana. Among these, CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the most well-known compounds, with THC being a cousin compound to CBD.

In the UK, which currently aligns with EU regulations, the production and regulation of CBD oil are strictly controlled. Legal CBD oils are extracted from specially cultivated hemp plants and contain less than 0.2% THC. CBD is celebrated for its unique properties; unlike THC, it is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t induce the anxiety or high associated with cannabis.

Nor does it cause the “red-eye” effect, a common indicator of cannabis use. These effects are linked explicitly to THC, not CBD.

Is CBD Oil Legal for CBD Users in the UK?

There’s a common misconception among many that CBD oil is illegal in the UK, but for CBD users, this is far from the truth. CBD oil, or cannabidiol, is entirely legal and readily available in numerous high street stores and through reputable online vendors.

While cannabis and certain weed-derived medications are legal in the UK only under specific medical conditions like nausea from chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, or severe epilepsy, CBD stands apart. Historically, cannabis was banned in 1928, underwent various reclassifications, and finally saw medical legalisation in 2018.

CBD is predominantly utilised in the UK for its therapeutic benefits, not for intoxication. The psychoactive compound in cannabis, THC, is present in legal CBD products at very low levels – under the legal limits of 0.2%. This ensures that it has little to no psychoactive effect on users.

Does Taking CBD Affect Driving Ability or Show Up on a Drug Test?

When taking CBD, a completely legal substance with less than 0.2% THC, many wonder about its impact on driving ability and drug test results. Generally, using a CBD product doesn’t show up on drug tests. However, since CBD and THC come from the same plant, it’s crucial to ensure the product you’re using has THC levels low enough to avoid a positive result on a drug test.

To be sure, always check the THC level in your CBD product. Although CBD typically contains low THC levels, there are instances where a drug test might detect THC, depending on the specific product’s composition and concentration.

If there’s any concern about the THC content in your CBD oil potentially affecting drug test results, consider verifying the THC level or exploring alternative strains.

Detecting THC in Drug Tests: Understanding Limits for Medical Cannabis and Illegal Substances

Drug tests are primarily designed to detect the presence of THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis, rather than CBD, which is typically THC-free. These tests identify THC-COOH, a key metabolite of THC, similar to how alcohol screenings work. There are established cutoff values to determine whether one is under the influence of illegal drugs, including medical cannabis with THC.

There are three common types of drug tests:

  • Urine Test: Often used in workplaces, a positive result typically occurs at THC concentrations of 50 nanograms per millilitre. THC metabolites can be detectable in urine from 3 to 15 days post-use, varying with the dosage, concentration, and frequency of use.
  • Blood Test: These tests detect THC but are less common due to the body’s rapid elimination of THC. THC is detectable in plasma for only about 5 hours, but metabolites can remain for up to a week. Blood tests are crucial for assessing current impairment, particularly in driving scenarios.
  • Hair Tests: There’s no specific cutoff time for hair follicle tests, which can detect THC metabolites for up to 90 days. The private industry often uses a threshold of one picogram per milligram.

Importantly, CBD, especially if it’s THC-free or contains trace amounts within legal limits, is not targeted by these tests. The risk arises if the CBD product contains higher levels of THC than legal, potentially leading to positive tests for THC, not CBD.

Thus, it’s crucial to use products free from illegal substances to avoid testing positive for THC.

Can You Drive After Taking CBD Oil in the UK?

When considering whether to drive after taking CBD in the UK, it’s important to understand the legal landscape. All legal CBD products in the UK must contain less than 0.2% THC, making them perfectly legal for use. CBD doesn’t produce a high, but knowing if it’s safe to get behind the wheel after using it is crucial. Individual reactions to CBD can vary, with some experiencing drowsiness, headaches, or nausea.

While using CBD and driving isn’t illegal and is generally considered safe, it’s essential to be aware of how your body responds to the compound. If you experience any adverse effects after taking CBD, it may be wise to adjust your dosage or the timing of your intake.

In summary, using CBD won’t result in a failed drug test or a drug driving charge in the UK. However, driving while suffering from side effects might compromise your driving ability. Always use common sense and ensure you feel fully alert and healthy before driving in the UK.

FAQ on CBD Oil and Its Effects

There is no definitive evidence that CBD oil significantly alters driving abilities. However, it’s essential to understand that individual reactions to taking CBD oil can vary. While CBD itself doesn’t induce intoxication like THC, some people might experience mild side effects like drowsiness. If you’re new to taking CBD oil, it’s advisable to monitor how your body responds before deciding to drive.

Many users report that taking CBD oil can help manage anxiety, including driving-related stress. The potential benefits of CBD oil in calming nerves are attributed to its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates mood and stress levels. While evidence that CBD helps with anxiety is growing, more research is needed to understand its effects fully.

Mixing CBD oil with alcohol is generally not recommended. While there’s limited research on the combined effects of consuming CBD and alcohol, it’s known that both substances can induce relaxation and sedation. Taking CBD oil and alcohol together might amplify these effects, potentially leading to increased drowsiness or mood changes.

Always exercise caution and consider consulting a healthcare professional before mixing any form of medication or supplements with alcohol.

For beginners taking CBD oil, starting with a low dosage is key. A common recommendation is to start with a daily dose of around 5-10 mg and gradually increase it. This approach allows you to gauge your body’s reaction to CBD oil and find the optimal dosage that provides the desired effects without unwanted side effects.

Comparing CBD oil and alcohol in terms of health isn’t straightforward, as they affect the body differently. CBD oil is known for its potential benefits, such as reducing inflammation, anxiety, and pain, without the intoxicating effects of alcohol. While moderate alcohol consumption can be part of a healthy lifestyle for some, excessive use is linked to various health issues.

CBD oil, on the other hand, doesn’t carry the risks of addiction and liver damage that alcohol does.

The time it takes to feel the effects of CBD oil can vary depending on several factors, like the method of consumption, the quality of the CBD oil, and individual metabolism. When taking CBD oil sublingually (under the tongue), effects can typically be felt within 15 to 45 minutes. If you’re consuming CBD in edible form, it may take longer, usually around one to two hours. Remember that consistent use of CBD oil over time might be needed to experience its full potential benefits.

In summary, when taking CBD oil, it’s crucial to consider its interaction with other substances like alcohol and any potential side effects. The growing evidence that CBD oil can aid in conditions like anxiety is promising, but always approach its use with care, especially if you’re taking other medication.

Starting with a low dose is the best way to introduce CBD oil into your routine, gradually increasing it as you monitor its effects on your body.