Cannabis component CBD doesn't impair driving skills, Australian study finds

04 Décembre, 2020, 18:39 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Medical cannabis is not as bad for driving skills as previously thought a study has found

If it was cannabidiol (CBD), which is often found in medical marijuana, then driving won't be impaired, researchers reported.

Cannabis products containing primary CBD did not impair driving while cannabis containing THC, or a THC and CBD mixture, caused mild impairment measured at 40 minutes later but not after four hours.

There are more than 100 different cannabinoids in cannabis.

These findings should reassure people using products that contain only CBD that they are likely safe to drive, and help people using THC to understand how long the effects last, the study authors said.

"The present data confirm public health concerns on driving under the influence of cannabis, but also indicate that the cannabis-induced driving impairment depends on cannabinoid composition", said researcher Johannes Ramaekers, a professor of psychopharmacology and behavioral toxicology at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. That's great news for those using or considering treatment using CBD-based products'.

CBD has been used to treat epilepsy, anxiety and chronic pain.

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Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, which advocates for the legalization of marijuana, said the most important issue - and one not addressed in this study - is if these temporary, modest changes in driving behavior significantly increase the risk of a auto crash.

However, numerous products on the market contain both THC and CBD - leading the Australian team to investigate the effects on driving. Studying the effects of cannabis on driving with such precision in a real-world context is incredibly important.

The study involved giving 26 healthy participants four different types of cannabis in a random order to vaporize on four separate occasions. "These results should allow for evidence-based laws and regulation for people receiving medical cannabis". Each participant's driving performance was then assessed on the road in real-world conditions along a 100-kilometer stretch of public highway in a dual control auto with a driving instructor present. Impairment was assessed using a measure called the standard deviation of vehicle position (SDLP), which tracks how much a person drifts or weaves within a given lane, and has been used in the past to establish impairment levels for drugs such as alcohol and Valium.

Participants vaporized cannabis containing mainly THC, mainly CBD, THC and CBD in combination, or placebo cannabis (no active components). The amount of THC vaporized by participants was enough to cause strong feelings of intoxication.

To test how the different types of cannabis affect driving, participants completed two one-hour, on-road highway driving tests commencing at 40 minutes and at four hours after inhaling vaporized cannabis.

"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 have not precisely quantified the duration of impairment".

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