Can You Drive After Smoking CBD? – Current Laws 2022

Young guy in his twenties wearing a black tshirt driving a car and smoking a joint.

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With CBD becoming increasingly popular, many begin to worry about both the safety and legality of consuming CBD before driving. We will go into depth about all your questions below.

While the legality surrounding CBD is a constantly changing gray area, CBD does not have psychoactive properties and therefore should not impair driving ability. Driving is illegal under the influence of psychoactive drugs like THC, but CBD is not included in this category. 

The nuances among CBD, THC, marijuana, and prescription medication can be murky, due to the rapidly growing but still fairly new cannabis and CBD markets. Read on to determine the possible effects of CBD on driving ability and how rules may differ based on circumstance or location.

Does smoking CBD impair your driving?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is derived from the hemp plant and is not a psychoactive compound like Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is derived from the marijuana plant. When people make assumptions about cannabis and driving, they are likely thinking about the effects of THC.

Driving after using CBD should be safe for most users. Although CBD can affect everyone differently, the most common driving-related risk associated with CBD is drowsiness, which is absolutely worth evaluating in yourself but is a side effect of many products, a list that simply includes CBD.

Understanding THC and CBD before driving

If you are worried about the potential consequences of driving after consuming CBD, it is important to realize the difference between THC and CBD. Hemp plants and marijuana plants are both part of the same species of cannabis. Hemp has lower levels of THC, the psychoactive property commonly associated with the user experiencing a high or stoned feeling. CBD is made from industrial hemp, which is legal in the United States as of the 2018 Farm Bill. 

Smoking CBD, or ingesting it in any other way such as in oil, supplement, or gummy, will not impair your driving in the way that THC, or smoking or ingesting marijuana in any way, would. The THC in marijuana, like alcohol, impairs your driving ability to such a degree that the government needs to regulate it.

While CBD does not impair driving in the same way or to the degree of either marijuana (which is legal in some states but not legal to drive under the influence of, regardless of location) or illegal drugs, it could affect normal driving ability. Much like prescription or even over-the-counter drugs with side effects such as drowsiness, lethargy, or mood change, CBD could have an impact on one’s regular driving capabilities. 

Especially in larger doses or immediately after use, CBD could induce drowsiness to a degree that driving may be unwise for some users. CBD affects everyone differently. New users of CBD in particular are advised to start with low doses to determine how they personally and specifically react to CBD and adjust to higher doses as needed. 

One might find that low doses of CBD do not impact driving ability at all, while the drowsiness associated with a higher dose might be inadvisable before driving. After all, some users may turn to CBD to help with insomnia or anxiety, so a sleepy relaxed feeling could be more dramatic for some users.

One very serious consideration when using CBD and driving is how trustworthy the product really is. There are currently no non-prescription CBD products approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that a broad spectrum or full-spectrum CBD product may claim to have below the legal limit of 0.3% THC, but no one is strictly monitoring those ingredients. 

THC does have psychoactive properties and could greatly impair driving ability. Using CBD products from a reliable source can lessen the risk of accidentally driving under the influence of THC due to the expectation that there was less THC in a CBD product than there actually was. We have personally tried and assembled some of the best and most trustworthy brands available in our free online directory here

Close up view of a hemp flower cola with beautiful purple and green leaves.

Can you get a DUI for smoking CBD?

Driving under the influence (DUI) refers to driving or somehow operating a vehicle while using, or under the influence of after using, alcohol or drugs. Drugs can include illegal or legal recreational drugs and even prescription medications.

One would think that DUI laws would be concrete and firm, but the up-and-coming nature of CBD and the cannabis industry as a whole has introduced some confusion into the categorization of CBD. Ideally, and legally, no, you cannot get a DUI for smoking CBD. CBD does not intoxicate the user and will not be screened for in a drug test, although side effects of CBD (like other medications) can include drowsiness or lightheadedness.

If drivers are suspected of driving under the influence in the United States, they will be heavily encouraged or, in most cases, required to take a drug test at some point during their interaction with a police officer or law official. While THC is usually included in most drug tests, CBD is not screened for in a drug test.

It is important to remember that CBD does not contain the psychoactive properties of THC or marijuana that give the user a high. However, small amounts of THC are present in full-spectrum CBD products, or any CBD product that has been mis-labeled. Although legal CBD products should contain below the legal limit of 0.3% THC, if a product does contain more, it could likely show up on a drug test. If a user is in any doubt about ingesting THC, especially in large doses, opt instead for CBD isolate products that have the benefits of CBD without any THC at all.

When dealing with drug test results, false or misleading labels or protesting innocence or ignorance of THC content will not exempt a user from a positive drug test result.

Laws could differ based on location

CBD is not a psychoactive drug and a drug test in the United States will not test for it nor register its presence, although the THC content in any CBD product can show up on a drug test and must be below the legal limit.

You may be wondering how attitudes and regulations toward CBD and its cousin marijuana could differ based on location. After all, marijuana is legal for recreational uses, legal for medical uses, and illegal all in different areas of the US. 

Again, although CBD is not a psychoactive drug that impairs driving ability and will not show up in a drug test, radically different attitudes toward the cannabis and hemp industries, in general, can affect local laws and even law officials’ willingness to understand the differences among products.

Concerns about driving after using CBD products can also often stem more from its possible side effects that include sedation, mild mood change, or drowsiness than its overt connection to marijuana. One can get a DUI from driving under the influence of prescription medication if it causes excessive sleepiness that is not conducive to operating a motor vehicle.

Even lawyers specializing in DUIs tend to use words like “should” and “might” when relating CBD use to DUIs, but they typically connect it back to the possible higher than anticipated THC content in CBD products. Some states have stricter laws regarding THC minimum levels, and the consumer cannot make assumptions based on THC levels- brands should be able to prove with third-party lab testing that they are only including the federal minimum of THC. 

Pertaining to some confusing and varying DUI laws and CBD, the lawyers at Nolo advise, “in most states and circumstances, there’s probably not much risk of getting a DUI for CBD use—though it might be theoretically possible.”

Although scientifically there is no more danger in driving after using CBD than any other legal medication that could cause drowsiness, there is a very minimal risk involved.

Can you fail a drug test due to CBD hemp flower?

As a compound that does not intoxicate the user, CBD is not screened for by drug tests. Much of the confusion comes from the close relation of CBD, which comes from hemp, to THC, a psychoactive compound that comes from marijuana. THC will register on a drug test, and at a certain level will show a positive result for that drug. 

While it’s not likely that the trace amount of THC in hemp flower will show up on a drug test, it could theoretically be possible if you are a very frequent smoker and enough THC has been stored in your fat cells.

Could my CBD product contain enough THC to fail a drug test?

One issue that occurs is that many CBD products contain low levels of THC. Full-spectrum CBD products do contain small amounts of THC, which work to enhance CBD’s attractive qualities. Legally, the THC content in a CBD product should be less than 0.3%. At these amounts, THC should not appear positive on a drug test. However, due to some lack of regulation in the industry, some products could be labeled incorrectly or contain more THC than they claim. 

It is crucial to purchase CBD products from a reliable source. The CBD market is very new and constantly changing. We have assembled some of the best products we have personally tried in our online directory that you can access for free. We can personally attest to the quality of these products.

A lush green hemp plant to the right with a black THC molecule to the left and a sunny background.

CBD hemp flower

If you specifically consume CBD via hemp flower, consider that CBD hemp flower should not contain THC at levels to register positively on a drug test. However, due to radically differing opinions regarding cannabis and the relatively new nature of the market, especially in certain areas, there may be personal risks associated with carrying CBD hemp flower. It would not be uncommon to encounter confusion or suspicion from a law enforcement official who encounters CBD hemp flower on your person considering hemp flower looks exactly the same as marijuana flower. 

You are unlikely to get in any valid legal trouble for hemp flower. But, particularly when crossing state lines, the transport of cannabis products (even though CBD is legal) could raise questions you may prefer not to deal with. As this associate editor of Remedy Review puts it, “For products like CBD flower, it can look almost identical to marijuana buds even though it won’t make you high. Because of this similarity in appearance, it’s probably best to avoid driving with hemp flower in your backseat.” 

If one expects to encounter resistance transporting CBD hemp flower, it may be wise to contact an attorney to clarify the specific laws in that location, which often contain some gray areas. 

How long do the effects of CBD flower last?

The answer to “how long will the effects of CBD last?” can depend totally on the distinct physiology of the individual. To personalize this answer to one’s self, it is recommended that a consumer start with low doses of any CBD product, gauge the physical and mental reaction to several repeated attempts, and then only increase as needed. 

Typically, the results of CBD can reasonably be expected to last anywhere from 2 to 6 hours. Some people do not experience much effects at first and may need to up their dose consumption. Others may feel the effects for up to 8 hours and prefer to lower their dose. For CBD oil, this could mean fewer drops in one session of consumption, for example, or fewer hits from a hemp cigarette.

For those who are worried about their body’s reaction to CBD regarding drowsiness or sedation related to driving, it is usually recommended to wait 4 hours after consuming CBD before driving if you experience excessive sleepiness with CBD. 

New CBD users, or even experienced CBD users who are considering a new product, are advised to begin with low doses. After considering the effects on your body and mental state, the dosage can be adjusted up or down based on any side effects experienced versus achieving the desired medical benefits. People use CBD for many reasons, including to alleviate the effects of insomnia, anxiety, and certain medical conditions, like forms of epilepsy.

Making a mental note or taking stock in some way of how one’s reaction changes can be a good idea, in order to ensure one is maximizing the desired effect without experiencing unintended or excessive side effects. Just like medications, CBD can have some side effects, which could include drowsiness, lethargy, feeling lightheaded, or mood change. 

While the effects of CBD may last a few hours, it can be more difficult to predict how long CBD could stay in a consumer’s system. Everyone’s body may react differently, making it all the more important to start out slow and try new products a few times before deciding if they are safe to drive after using.

Remember that CBD is not a miracle cure. In fact, if a CBD product makes outrageous claims that seem too good to be true, that could be a red flag to look into the validity of the product or company.

Try giving a new CBD product regiment time to work without instantly or dramatically upping the dose. A consumer can always increase with time, but it can be more prudent and economical to pace oneself at first, especially since the product could just need time to start to work with the body.

Takeaway: Can you drive after Smoking CBD?

Legally, you can drive after smoking CBD. Because CBD is not psychoactive, there are no laws prohibiting driving after use of CBD.

However, for your safety, make sure that you do not experience serious side effects of CBD before you start driving. Some people, especially right after large doses, experience drowsiness. If you also experience this side effect, then you should avoid driving. Even prescription medications with drowsiness as a side effect could land someone with a DUI if they fall asleep or cause an accident. With that being said, if you are a veteraned user and you know that CBD does not cause you feelings of drowsiness, then you are safe to drive.

The only potential legal issues you could have with driving after smoking CBD would actually not even be from the CBD itself, but rather from THC. It is illegal to drive under the influence of THC in all 50 states, including states where THC is legal. 

If you are a very regular hemp smoker, THC could potentially build up in your system over time, enough to show up on a drug test. Then there’s also the lack of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of non-prescription CBD, so if the amount of THC in a CBD product exceeds its stated amount, THC could be detected in a drug test. You could also run into problems if you have hemp in your car since it looks and smells just like weed.

That’s why it’s critical to buy from a reliable source, preferably from companies that provide a CoA, or Certificate of Analysis. Here are some of the most trustworthy hemp brands on the market: Shop Now

If you’re specifically looking for CBD flower, click here to check out our personal favorite company, Secret Nature.

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Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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