Le CBD au volant

CBD while driving

Arthur Leclerc

CBD - short for cannabidiol - is one of many compounds found in the cannabis plant.

Generically referred to as cannabinoids, these compounds have distinct characteristics, the best known of which is the high effect specific to the THC molecule.

CBD has other properties, whose beneficial actions on health are the subject of numerous studies.

The production of cannabidiol is based on an extraction of the hemp plant, the varieties of which are initially selected for their low natural THC content.

The treatment carried out to manufacture the various cannabidiol-based products – bottled oils, vaping liquids, edible products, creams… – makes it possible to reduce the level of THC and comply with regulations.

The objective is to reach the rate authorized by law for CBD products in France, which cannot exceed 0.2% THC.

So, yes, you read that right, CBD contains a tiny amount of THC.

You can therefore wonder if its consumption can alter your driving skills.

And if a positive screening test is possible in case of control by the constabulary.


As the drug and driving regulations indicate, the consumption of substances or plants classified as narcotics, such as cannabis containing THC, is punishable by law.

But this prohibition does not apply to the substance cannabidiol.

CBD is not considered an intoxicating substance. This was recently confirmed by a judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which concluded that CBD "does not appear to have a psychotropic effect".

The consumption of CBD is therefore authorized and no law prohibits the practice of driving.

This provision obviously considers that the CBD-based products consumed strictly comply with the regulations in force concerning the level of THC.

In other words, if you regularly use a CBD product that does not comply, containing a THC level higher than the authorized standard, you run the risk of being positive and therefore in the illegality.

And a simple drug test will verify it instantly, as explained below.

To avoid taking unnecessary risks, our best advice is to select recognized products, duly tested and verified by independent laboratories.


The majority of people who consume CBD do not notice any alteration in their abilities and are therefore able to drive a vehicle.

However, depending on the subject, side effects may appear, the most common of which are signs of fatigue, as evidenced by various studies.

Areview of studies from 2017, primarily involving patients with epilepsy and psychotic disorders, for example, revealed that fatigue was the most frequently observed side effect.

In another study of 2,400 users, 2% reported a state of drowsiness after consuming CBD.

In 2018, research on the drug Sativex was conducted in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Sativex is prescribed to improve symptoms related to muscle stiffness. It is composed of two cannabinoids and takes the form of an oral mucosal spray, containing 270 mg of THC and 250 mg of CBD per 10 ml bottle.

Researchers noted that THC levels in patients' blood may be above legal thresholds in some countries.

If you are taking Sativex, it is therefore important to know the local regulations and to bring a certificate attesting to your medical use.

Anotherstudy Dutch study published in 2020 compared the skills of 26 subjects who consumed different amounts of THC and cannabidiol.

After driving on a highway for between 40 and 100 minutes, the researchers measured their ability to navigate traffic, memory, decision-making and other cognitive skills.

The groups that took both high-THC cannabis and the THC/CBD combination were found to be impaired short-term similar to that observed in drivers with a blood alcohol level of 0.05% (the legal limit in France).

In contrast, those who had taken only the CBD strain showed no change in their abilities. The study thus concluded that cannabidiol in these circumstances did not interfere with driving.


The police have drug test kits, used to detect cocaine and cannabis. If they stop a motorist and suspect them to be under the influence of an illegal drug, officers may ask them to take a saliva test.

Tests give results in five minutes.

Although they are not admissible in court, they can lead to laboratory analyzes, which can constitute incriminating evidence.

These tests are not designed to detect CBD, only THC.

It is therefore unlikely that you will test positive for THC if you have only used legally compliant cannabidiol products.

To avoid any risk, we advise you to limit yourself to products marketed in France; products purchased abroad may contain higher levels of THC than those authorized locally.

It is therefore essential to buy your CBD from a reputable producer who can demonstrate the THC levels of their products via independent laboratory tests.

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