Millions of patients and consumers over the world will be delighted by the outcomes of the latest study on cannabis and driving. The University of Sydney-driven research discovers that 1500mg, the highest daily medicinal dose of cannabidiol (CBD), has no effect on people’s cognitive or driving abilities.
CBD comprises a cannabis component extensively used for medical and ‘wellness’ purposes, like to cause sleep or enhance energy. It is frequently taken orally, in oil form.
Many countries, including Australia, permit people to drive while on CBD. In NSW, for instance, it is legal if a driver is not ‘impaired’ by fatigue or reduced blood pressure. The current study indicates, contraindications apart, that even at the highest medicinal dose of 1500mg, cannabidiol does not lead to impairment.
“Though CBD is generally considered ‘non-intoxicating’, its effects on safety-sensitive tasks are still being established,” mentioned lead author Dr Danielle McCartney, from the University’s Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics. “Our study is the first to confirm that, when consumed on its own, CBD is driver-safe.”
In contrast to THC, a cannabis component that can cause sedation, impairment and euphoria (a “high”), CBD does not seem to intoxicate people. Rather, it has been informed to have calming and pain alleviation effects.
Peak concentrations of CBD in the blood plasma of a person are usually achieved within 3 to 4 hours after consuming it orally, though individual responses differ.
CBD use is rising in Western nations, with latest University of Sydney research displaying that nearly 55,000 requests to connect medicinal CBD have been accepted in Australia since 2016. It is most popularly advised for anxiety, sleep disorders and pain.
Regarding The Study
Posted in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the study concerned 17 participants undertaking simulated driving tasks after taking either a placebo or 15, 300 or 1500 mg of CBD in oil. These amounts signify regularly consumed dosages: up to 150mg/day over the counter; and up to 1500mg/day for ailments like epilepsy, anxiety, sleep disorders and pain.
First, participants had to attempt to keep a safe distance between themselves and a lead vehicle, and then ‘drive’ along rural roads and highways. They finished the task between 45-75 minutes after taking their defined treatment, and then once more at between 3.5 and 5 hours later, to meet the range of plasma concentrations at separate times. They duplicated this under each of the 4 separate treatments (placebo plus 3 different doses).
The researchers assessed participants’ control of the simulated car, examined by how much it drifted or weaved (a standardised measure of driving ability), together with their subjective experiences, cognitive function, and the CBD concentrations within their plasma.
They affirmed that no dose of CBD caused feelings of intoxication or seemed to impair either cognitive performance or driving.
“We do, however, caution that this study looked at CBD in isolation only, and that drivers taking CBD with other medications should do so with care,” Dr McCartney mentioned.
A 2020 study, also by the University of Sydney, discovered very small doses of vapourised (‘vaped’) CBD – an unpopular method of taking the drug – were driver-safe.
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