Landmark Study Finds CBD Does Not Impair Driving

4th December 2020

A recent study has found that CBD use does not have an impact on a person’s ability to drive. Researchers at the Lambert Initiative aimed to understand the magnitude and duration of driving impairment following vaporisation of cannabis containing varying concentrations of THC and CBD.

Although cannabis use has been long associated with crash risk, previous studies show that driving under the influence of the drug, on the contrary to alcohol, may actually make the driver drive slower and more cautiously.

Yet, others found that cannabis consumption can increase reaction time and may result in making bad or late decisions in emergencies.

However, studies more often than not claim that the severity of the influence depends on various factors – ie. the amount of cannabis that has been consumed or how much THC, the psychoactive compound that creates the high feeling, is present in the cannabis.

As an increasing number of countries continue to consider the legalisation of recreational cannabis, the impact of cannabis use on driving is becoming a popular area of study among experts and researchers.

The Academic Director of the Lambert Initiative, Professor Iain McGregor, said: “With rapidly changing attitudes towards medical and non-medical use of cannabis, driving under the influence of cannabis is emerging as an important and somewhat controversial public health issue.

“While some previous studies have looked at the effects of cannabis on driving, most have focused on smoked cannabis containing only THC (not CBD) and have not precisely quantified the duration of the impairment.

“This is the first study to illustrate the lack of CBD effects on driving and also provide a clear indication of the duration of THC impairment.”

The methods and findings

Unlike THC, cannabidiol (CBD) does not have psychoactive properties, meaning that it doesn’t get the user ‘high’. This has helped to make the cannabis derivative extremely popular in recent years among those looking for alternative treatment options and wellness products.

CBD has been found tho have several health benefits, such as its ability to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, its anti-inflammatory properties, and its ability to ease the symptoms of spasticity-related conditions and.

In this clinical trial, 26 individuals inhaled either vaporised CBD-dominant cannabis, THC-dominant cannabis or placebo before going for a 100km on-road driving test, both 40 minutes, then four hours, later.

The researchers found that while cannabis containing THC and THC/CBD mixture caused “mild impairment” after 40 minutes, there were no significant differences between CBD-dominant cannabis and placebo.

When summarising the results, Thomas R. Arkell 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.”

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