A groundbreaking study published in JAMA reveals that the presence of cannabidiol (CBD) in cannabis does not have an impact on driving abilities.

Introduction A critical study has shown how cannabis affects driving ability. The study reveals that Cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabis component now widely used for medical purposes, does not affect driving. In contrast, moderate amounts of the main intoxicating component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) produce mild driving impairment, lasting for up to four hours. What is Cannabidiol? CannabidiolRead More



A recent study has examined the impact of cannabis on driving ability, specifically focusing on the effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The study found that CBD, a component of cannabis commonly used for medical purposes, does not impair driving. However, moderate amounts of THC, the main intoxicating component of cannabis, can lead to mild driving impairment for up to four hours.

What is Cannabidiol?

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a popular natural medication used to treat various common illnesses. It is one of the many chemical compounds called cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, Cannabis sativa. While there is ongoing research on the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD for conditions such as anxiety, cognition, movement disorders, and pain, there is currently insufficient high-quality evidence to support its effectiveness.

People can consume CBD in different ways, including inhalation of cannabis smoke or vapor, aerosol sprays into the cheek, and oral ingestion. CBD is also available as CBD oil, which contains only CBD as the active ingredient and does not contain THC or terpenes.

Is cannabidiol CBD legal in the US?

In the United States, cannabidiol extracted from marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I Controlled Substance as of March 2020. Other CBD formulations are not approved as prescription drugs or dietary supplements and are not allowed for interstate commerce. However, in 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved a cannabidiol drug called Epidiolex for the treatment of two epilepsy disorders.

Side effects of cannabidiol

Research suggests that high doses of cannabidiol may help reduce the adverse effects of THC, particularly those related to intoxication and sedation. However, common side effects of cannabidiol include tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite. The documentation for Epidiolex also lists sleepiness, insomnia, decreased appetite, diarrhea, and fatigue as potential side effects.

CBD sans THC does not affect driving ability

A study conducted by the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at the University of Sydney and Maastricht University in the Netherlands found that CBD, when used without THC, does not impair driving ability. This finding is significant for individuals using or considering CBD-based products for medical treatment.

Using cannabis for medical treatment

There has been a significant increase in the use of cannabis-related products for medical treatment in Australia and other countries. CBD-containing products are commonly used for conditions such as epilepsy, anxiety, chronic pain, and addictions. Many available products also contain a combination of THC and CBD.

Results giving promising insights

The study’s results provide valuable insights into the magnitude and duration of impairment caused by different types of cannabis. This information can help guide road safety policies not only in Australia but globally. It is crucial to establish evidence-based laws and regulations regarding the use of medical cannabis to ensure road safety.

The method adopted for the study

The study involved 26 healthy participants who vaporized four different types of cannabis in a random order on separate occasions. The participants then drove a 100-kilometer stretch of a public highway under real-world conditions, with a driving instructor present to evaluate their performance. The researchers used a scientific analysis called standard deviation of vehicle position (SDLP) to measure lane weaving, swerving, and overcorrecting, which are indicators of impairment. The study compared the effects of cannabis containing primarily THC, primarily CBD, a combination of THC and CBD, and a placebo cannabis with no active components.

According to Professor Iain McGregor, the Academic Director of the Lambert Initiative, this study provides crucial insights into the impact of cannabis on driving in a real-world context. The results are particularly relevant for individuals using CBD-only products, as they suggest that these products are unlikely to impair driving ability. Additionally, the study helps patients using THC-dominant products understand the duration of impairment.


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