Can You Drive on CBD Oil in the UK?

by Chloe Palmer

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.

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