CBD, THC, and Driving: What’s Safe?

Some research has shown that marijuana users aren’t as impaired as other drivers, but some studies point to increased odds of a DUI. Even still, the use of cannabis for medical purposes continues to grow, and marijuana is now legal in eight states. But driving while using marijuana can be tricky, depending on THC levels in your blood, if you’ve just eaten marijuana edibles, and what other medications or substances you’re currently taking.

What is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol. This compound is one of many chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. It is non-psychoactive, which means it does not cause you to feel high. Marijuana and hemp are the only two varieties of the cannabis plant that include all (or practically all) of the compounds.

What is THC?

THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. It enters your system after smoking or ingesting marijuana, and it’s what makes you high. The cannabinoid receptors in your body act like a lock, THC a key, and the drug causes them to open.

What’s The Difference Between CBD And THC?

You may have heard about cannabidiol before. CBD oil is extracted from hemp, a cannabis plant that does not contain THC. It is the component that causes the body to feel euphoric, while CBD is non-psychoactive. Cannabidiol is marketed to help treat a number of medical conditions, including inflammation, epilepsy, and chronic pain. However, it is of unknown legal effect and is not fully legal in all U.S. states. In some states, like Colorado, medical marijuana patients have to produce a doctor’s note in order to acquire CBD oil.

CBD vs. THC: What’s Safe When It Comes to Driving?

When it comes to cannabis, there are hundreds of compounds that have the potential to affect your driving ability. The most well-known are tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. While both compounds are psychoactive, their effects can vary greatly. For example, THC increases your concentration and reaction time, while CBD decreases your anxiety. Therefore, it’s important to know which compound is most prevalent in your cannabis product.

Both marijuana and cannabis are loaded with cannabinoids, which are components of these plants. Cannabinoids have a range of effects, from medicinal to recreational. One of the active compounds in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol, which is responsible for its intoxicating effects. THC binds to cannabinoid receptor sites in the brain, producing sensations of euphoria, relaxation, and cognitive impairment.

You’ve probably heard that cannabis can have both several health benefits as well as harmful effects. But did you know that it’s also been linked to increased car accident risks? Marijuana and alcohol are some of the most common drugs found in drivers after a fatal car crash, and THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis, can negatively impact driving abilities.

Driving while under the influence of marijuana or other drugs can be extremely risky, and driving under the influence of marijuana or other drugs is illegal in all 50 states. So, what can you expect if you drive high? Depending on the level of THC in your bloodstream, you can expect to be affected by the following:

  • Decreased ability to see clearly
  • Slowed reaction time
  • More difficulty in controlling the vehicle
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired memory
  • Impaired attention

The research suggests that CBD does not have a negative impact on driving ability. However, it is worth noting that tetrahydrocannabinol – the chemical that causes intoxication – can lead to mild driving impairment that can last up to four hours.

The use of marijuana has been legalized in many states around the country, but does that mean driving while high is safe? While marijuana (or cannabis) contains both THC and CBD, THC is the psychoactive component and is responsible for feeling “high,” while CBD is non-psychoactive and is used to treat a variety of conditions, including chronic pain and anxiety. While both of them are legal to possess and use, driving under the influence of either is still illegal.

When you’re just getting used to the idea of driving under the influence of marijuana, the confusion may leave you wondering if you can legally drive with CBD or THC in your system. The short answer is that it depends on the state. Most states are very explicit about a legal distinction between the two types of marijuana—while both types of marijuana impair driving, the effects are wildly different.