Effects of cannabis on drivers, CBD does not affect driving

driving and cannabis 1

New study shows CBD has little effect on driving skills and THC has little impact on driving skills

A new study of the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics of the University of Sydney analyzed the effects of cannabis and its constituents on the driving ability of users, finding that cannabidiol (CBD) does not affect driving ability and that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) does not has only slight effects on driving for four hours.

Effect of cannabidiol and Δ 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol on driving performance

The results of the study could have huge implications, as cannabinoid-based medications are increasingly popular for treating epilepsy, chronic pain, cancer pain, inflammation, and many other conditions.

In Australia alone, SAS-B (Special Access to Therapeutics) authorizations for cannabinoid drugs have increased every year. Almost 50000 authorizations for 2020. Cannabis is increasingly legitimized as a medicine. The inability of medicinal cannabis users to drive legally after taking their medication is a growing problem.

as we have published last year following the Australian Senate investigation into prescription barriers. Doctors are reluctant to prescribe medication to patients for fear they will be pulled over while driving and arrested.

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In addition, there is currently no working breathalyzer system to test for THC levels in the blood. As it stands, the police can only determine whether or not patients have THC in their system, regardless of the amount.

This means that if someone has a full spectrum CBD drug, even with 0,3% THC content (which has now been found to have no effect on their driving abilities), they can be tested positive during a roadside drug test.

The driving study was conducted at Maastricht University in the Netherlands and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Lead author of the study, Dr Thomas Arkell says the results “indicate for the first time that CBD, when administered without THC, does not affect a subject's ability to drive. This is great news for those who are using or considering treatment with CBD products ”.

Research shows that CBD is safe for driving and for the effects of THC to wear off within hours

The researchers measured driving performance by tracking how much the participants' vehicles deviated on the road using a common scientific metric called the vehicle position standard deviation (SDLP). Two one-hour driving tests were performed 40 minutes and four hours after inhaling the weed extract.

Effects of cannabis on drivers, CBD has little effect on driving, THC driving, driving skills, driving CBD
Example of standard deviation of lateral position. Image via International Journal of General Medicine.

The study consisted of giving 26 people vape cannabis with varying ratios of THC and CBD before going for a 100KM ride for 40 minutes under the supervision of a driving instructor.

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The study found that “cannabis containing primarily CBD did not impair driving while cannabis containing THC, or a THC / CBD mixture, caused slight impairment in driving measured 40 minutes later but not after four hours ”. Said Dr Arkell: “With the evolution of cannabis laws globally, jurisdictions are grappling with the issue of driving while impaired by cannabis. These results provide very useful information on the extent and duration of impairment caused by different types of cannabis and can help guide road safety policy, not only in Australia but around the world ”.

“Road safety is a major concern,” continued Dr Arkell. "These findings are expected to lead to evidence-based laws and regulations for people who receive cannabis for medical purposes."

The study looked at lane deviations, swerves and overcorrections with regard to the vehicle position standard deviation (SDLP).

The implication of this study could be decisive for the future prescription of cannabinoid drugs and allow patients receiving medical cannabis to consume cannabis without fear of being arrested if they have to drive.

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