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CBD and Driving: Is It Safe or Legal?

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Written by The CBD Insider

On its surface, it might seem like CBD is a health supplement perfectly built for driving. After all, CBD products claim to enhance your focus, provide a sense of calm, ease feelings of stress and anxiety, and more—all valuable tools on the road.

But is there actually anything to worry about when it comes to CBD and driving? Is CBD safe? Is it even legal to have CBD oil in your car?

Whether you’re gearing up for a road trip or just wondering if your favorite new addition to your daily health regimen is safe to take on the road, we’ve got the answers below.

How Could CBD Affect My Driving?

“But wait,” you’re thinking, “I thought CBD was non-psychoactive, so it shouldn’t affect me?”

Well, partial credit there, but not so fast.

CBD does have some effects, otherwise what would be the point of taking it? While your thoughts are correct that CBD is indeed non-psychoactive and therefore will not get you high, it does have some of its own profound effects that could influence you when you drive.

how could cbd affect my driving

Are those effects dangerous? Well, that’s another matter.

It is generally safe to drive after taking CBD, but you should be aware of certain situations that could make it problematic. The biggest one to pay attention to is your dosage.

For example, if you’re new to CBD, you won’t know right away what the proper dosage is for you or how you will react to this popular cannabinoid. But whether you’re new or not, a large dose of CBD could make you feel drowsy, and that’s obviously a feeling you want to avoid before you get behind the wheel.

Perhaps this makes you curious about how CBD might make you feel drowsy. This is due to CBD’s effect on our brain serotonin receptors, especially when ingested in high doses. CBD can also work as a reuptake inhibitor in the brain, meaning it will allow the brain to elevate levels of anandamide, an endocannabinoid molecularly similar to THC. 

CBD can also enhance or inhibit receptor transmission, working as a positive allosteric modulator of the GABA-A receptor. When this occurs, CBD causes the receptor to bind more easily with GABA. This is potentially concerning when it comes to your awareness on the road as GABA is known to induce a sense of calm and relaxation.

Is It Safe To Drive After Taking CBD?

Now that you know how CBD could potentially become problematic when it comes to driving, you can see that the answer is mostly yes, but it can be unsafe if you aren’t careful.

CBD works by decreasing our excitability and increasing relaxation. However, since it generally does this in low levels, it is more of a slight mood alteration than an intoxication. CBD should not impair function in most people when it comes to driving.

But some users may experience side effects that can lower driving ability. These side effects may include drowsiness, lightheadedness, and low blood pressure. If you feel these side effects after taking CBD, obviously it’s best not to get behind the wheel as your driving ability may be impaired. 

Small doses of CBD can actually boost your mood and give you a bit of energy, while larger doses have more of a sedative effect. Thus, you may want to avoid large doses of CBD before driving.

cbd and driving legality

CBD derived from hemp is federally legal; however, some states still have different rules when it comes to the ability to sell and distribute CBD products. 

For the most part, having CBD products in the car should not cause any trouble. However, there is the potential that it could cause some confusion with some law enforcement, especially if a product happens to have the word “cannabis” on the label.

Therefore, even though it is indeed legal, it might be a good idea not to have CBD oil in your car just because of the chance that it could lead to some unwanted questions or confusion. CBD also exists in a bit of a grey area when it comes to crossing state borders, something to keep in mind for longer trips. 

You also need to be extra careful if driving with CBD internationally, as some countries have a strict zero-tolerance policy when it comes to THC levels in the blood, even if it’s just trace amounts. This may result in costly fines that you surely want to avoid.

What Else Do I Need To Know About CBD Oil And Driving? 

Another grey area with CBD is how it interacts with other medications and substances. There are endless potential combinations of substances and, to date, how CBD interacts with them is relatively unknown. If you’re currently taking any medications, it is best to consult with your doctor before taking any CBD at all, let alone get behind the wheel.

CBD oil and driving is a complex relationship that depends on a lot of factors, such as your history with CBD, tolerance, body chemistry, other substances in your system, and whether or not you’re already feeling tired.


While CBD isn’t psychoactive like its THC counterpart, it still does produce some effects on our bodies. While they generally should not inhibit our driving ability, this is one of those scenarios where it’s probably just best not to risk any complications.

Of course, if you know your limits and are careful about your dosage, you can probably take your normal amount and be just fine behind the wheel. But if you’re new to CBD, you may want to get to know how it affects you first before you take it on the road. 

While CBD is, for the most part, completely legal, THC is not in all 50 states. So depending on where you are, you should be extra careful as even trace amounts of THC in a CBD product could possibly (although unlikely) trigger a positive test.

Be safe out there and enjoy your CBD responsibly!


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