A landmark study has found that cannabidiol (CBD) doesn’t trigger driver impairment when taken in small doses while the impairment caused by THC fizzles out in just a matter of hours.
The researchers based at Sydney University in Australia concluded that when drivers consume small amounts of THC, which trigger intoxication similar to that experienced by an individual who takes alcohol resulting in a 0.05 percent blood alcohol level, the impairment of their driving competence faded within four hours after consumed the dose of marijuana.
This study comes at a time when many people are concerned about the likely effects of the increasing legalization of cannabis, either for medicinal or recreational purposes.
For example, opponents of legalization keep insisting that cases of cannabis-impaired driving will increase, but the lack of concrete evidence to that effect waters down their arguments.
Similarly, medical cannabis patients constantly worry that they could be prosecuted for impaired driving days after they consumed their medicine if metabolites are detected in their blood during a roadside test.
The Sydney research helps to reassure all concerned, especially those users the substance, that they are unlikely to endanger anyone on the road as long as wait several hours after consuming the small dose of THC-rich medical marijuana.
To quantify the impact of cannabinoids upon drivers, the scientists divided the study participants into four groups. Each group was then requested to vaporize a different cannabis blend. One blend mainly had THC, another contained mainly cannabidiol, a third product was composed of a mix of those two cannabinoids, while the fourth product was a placebo with hardly any cannabinoids.
For all blends having the two main cannabinoids being studied, the concentration was capped at 13.75 mg.
All participants then had to drive (twice) 100 km on a highway in the Netherlands. The first drive was initiated 40 minutes after the participants had vaporized the blend, while the second round of driving took place four hours later. Each driver had a licensed instructor observing them throughout the trip.
A barrage of data was collected from the drivers in a laboratory. For example, the concentration of cannabinoids in their blood was measured, as was their cognitive performance. During the driving test, each participant was observed to see the extent to which their vehicle drifted outside their specific assigned lane. This is a common metric used to track impaired driving.
The study indicates that for the drivers who had taken the small dose of CBD, no signs of impairment were detected during either of the driving tests. However, individuals who consumed the product containing THC exhibited mild levels of impairment similar to what would be seen in a person whose blood alcohol level was 0.05%.
Four hours later, the THC group of study participants didn’t exhibit any sign of impairment, and their blood tests showed that the cannabinoid had tapered off.
It is interesting to observe that the researchers noticed that, unlike what happens when people take impairment-inducing amounts of alcohol, those who took THC appeared to be aware of their diminished driving abilities as they revealed that they felt less confident while taking to the wheel.
This study is one of the first to provide verifiable data about the impact of small doses of CBD and THC on drivers but shouldn’t be relied upon to indicate what could happen when bigger doses of these compounds are consumed.
Many companies have come up to make a variety of cannabis products, and those companies are thriving. One of the notable firms in this regard is The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (CSE: WTER). Its innovative electrolysis process has helped the company establish a strong reputation for its bottled and perfectly balanced alkaline water, as well as its CBD-infused products.