Sydney – If you are taking cannabidiol (CBD) as part of your daily supplemental routine, do not be afraid to get behind the wheel. Researchers in Australia report that the highest daily medicinal dose of CBD “has no impact” on people’s driving or cognitive abilities.
CBD is a component of cannabis that many people around the world use to improve their sleep and energy levels. It is often consumed orally, in the form of oil, but can also come in jelly, chocolate and even beer. Many countries allow people to drive with CBD because it is not psychoactive and contains less than 0.1% THC, which is the substance that causes people to smoke marijuana.
Sleep experts recommend that anyone weighing up to 154 pounds should take between 10 and 60 mg a day. The present study shows that even a high dose of 1,500 mg does not cause deterioration.
“While CBD is generally considered non-toxic, its effects on safety-sensitive tasks are still being established,” said lead author Dr Danielle McCartney of the University of Sydney in a statement. “Our study is the first to confirm that, when consumed alone, CBD is safe for the driver.”
Unlike THC, which can induce sedation, euphoria, and impairment, CBD does not appear to intoxicate people. Many people use it for its calming effect and for relieving pain. Maximum CBD levels in a person’s blood plasma are usually reached three to four hours after taking it orally, although individual responses vary.
CBD use is on the rise in Western nations. Other research from the University of Sydney shows that around 55,000 applications for access to medical CBD have been approved in Australia since 2016.
The study, published in Journal of Psychopharmacology, involved 17 participants doing simulated driving tasks after taking a placebo or 15, 30 or 1,500 mg of CBD oil. These amounts represent the doses of frequent consumption available in Australia: up to 150 mg per day without a prescription and up to 1,500 mg per day for conditions such as epilepsy, pain, sleep disorders and anxiety.
Participants first had to try to maintain a safe distance between themselves and a main vehicle and then drive on roads and rural roads. They did this 45 to 75 minutes after taking the assigned dose of CBD, and again 3.5 to four hours later, to cover the range of plasma concentrations at different times. Each participant repeated it four times, one for each dosing level, including placebo.
The researchers measured participants’ control of the simulated car by testing the amount of tissue or drift (a standardized measure of driving ability), as well as their cognitive function, subjective experiences, and plasma CBD concentrations. They concluded that no dose of CBD induced sensations of intoxication or appeared to affect driving or cognitive performance.
“However, we note that this study only examined CBD in isolation and that drivers taking CBD with other medications should do so with caution,” McCartney says.
A 2020 study, also from the University of Sydney, found that very low doses of vaporized (vaporized) CBD, an uncommon method of taking the drug, were also safe.
Report by South West News Service writer Danny Halpin.