A new study on the effects of cannabis in real settings has shown that cannabidiol (CBD) alone does not impair driving ability.
It's a historic discovery, one that promises to be invaluable in driving road safety regulations as CBD and cannabis laws change around the world. The way opens for a more conscious and non-demonized use of cannabidiol.
An alternating phase approach
"With the rapidly changing attitude towards the medical and non-medical use of cannabis, driving under the influence of cannabis is emerging as an important and somewhat controversial public health issue," he explains. Iain McGregor, from the University of Sydney and author of the new study.
"While some previous studies have looked at the effects of cannabis on driving, most have focused on smoked cannabis containing only THC (not CBD). And they didn't accurately quantify the duration of reflex problems."
CBD moves towards the "good list"
There are more than 100 different cannabinoids in cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most important chemicals, and THC is mainly associated with the psychoactive euphoric effects of the plant. In the meantime, it is increasingly being discovered that CBD confers a number of positive health outcomes.
Cannabidiol recently became the first cannabis-derived compound ever approved by the American FDA to reduce seizures in severe forms of epilepsy.
In Italy, the Ministry of Health recently suspended a controversial decree that even put cannabidiol (CBD) on the list of drugs!
A systematic review
A collaboration between Australian and Dutch researchers is the first to focus specifically on the effect of CBD alone, as well as in combination with THC, on driving ability in real-world conditions.
The new experiment recruited 26 subjects whose driving performance was tested on four occasions after vaping only THC, only CBD, a THC / CBD combination, or a placebo.
The test involved driving on a real highway under controlled conditions for an hour on two occasions, 40 minutes after vaping the drug, and again four hours later. Deterioration was assessed using a measure called vehicle position standard deviation (SDLP), which keeps track of how far a person moves or moves within a given lane. Before cannabidiol it was used in the past to establish impaired levels for drugs such as alcohol and Valium.
Compared to placebo, the researchers found no difference in impaired driving 40 minutes after vaping just the CBD. This is comparable to mild impairment found in the THC and THC plus CBD tests after 40 minutes.
These results indicate for the first time that cannabidiol, when administered without THC, does not affect a subject's ability to drive.Thomas Arkell, lead author of the new study.
This is great news for those using or considering treatment using cannabidiol (CBD) products.
CBD, important consequences
A notable reflection of the study was that no impairment of driving ability was detected in any of the four groups tested four hours after administration.
Previous research has found that cannabis can cause mild driving disturbances up to three hours after consumption. Temporary problems that generally subside about four hours after consumption. These results confirm (at this point I would say without doubts) those previous studies.
This is a relatively crucial finding as roadside testing for cannabis intoxication is still a controversial topic. We have many devices that can measure (and not only) the level of alcohol consumed by drivers, but scientists have yet to produce a reliable commercial device to objectively measure cannabis intoxication.
THC metabolites can be detected for days, or even weeks, after consumption.
"Road safety is a primary concern," says Arkell. "These findings on cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) should allow for evidence-based laws and regulations for people receiving medical cannabis."
The new cannabidiol study was published in the scientific journal JAMA.
Source: University of Sydney