• CBD is a chemical compound derived from cannabis or hemp plants. Furthermore, cannabidiol is non-intoxicating and can not make users high(1)
  • A 2018 study discussed that specific doses of CBD may help reduce pain in kidney transplant patients with chronic pain(2)
  • Individuals taking CBD may drive legally if their senses are not impaired. CBD may induce side effects like drowsiness and fatigue. One should consult a physician on CBD usage and the compound’s risk of impairment(3)
  • However, individuals are not allowed to drive if they take cannabis products with THC, as the compound may cause coordination and cognitive impairments. Safe driving requires vision, motor coordination, memory, and attention(4).  

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, more commonly called CBD, is one of the numerous chemical compounds found in cannabis plants. 

Compared to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), another cannabis compound that causes a euphoric high, CBD is nonpsychoactive and does not possess non-intoxicating properties(5)

CBD interacts with humans’ endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system regulates various bodily functions in the endocrine, immune, and central nervous system(6). 

The ECS comprises cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2). 

CB1 receptors have a significant role in pain sensations(7). The stimulation and binding of these receptors may decrease the brain’s pain signals. 

Meanwhile, CB2 receptors activate an anti-inflammatory response.

The human body naturally produces endocannabinoids that work with the cannabinoid receptors(8).

However, if the body lacks endocannabinoids, plant-based cannabinoids such as CBD and THC may deliver similar analgesic (pain-relieving) effects.

THC Content Within CBD

CBD is a compound derived from hemp plants. CBD does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana that makes users high(9)

However, some cannabis derivatives may contain trace amounts of THC. Specifically, up to 0.3%, which is the amount of THC that is federally legal in the United States(10).

CBD Benefits for Pain

Studies have suggested that CBD may possess anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory benefits that may help individuals manage fibromyalgia symptoms(11).

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that affects an individual’s muscles and bones and can cause soreness, fatigue, issues with memory, mood, and sleep, and widespread pain.

Clinical research has indicated that CBD may deliver therapeutic benefits for specific forms of epilepsy, provide analgesic effects in some medical conditions, and improve an individual’s quality of life(12).

In 2018, researchers investigated participants who underwent a kidney transplant and took CBD for pain management(13).

The study stated that doses of 50 to 150 milligrams (mg) of CBD twice a day for three weeks may help decrease pain in kidney transplant patients suffering from chronic pain.

CBD Usage and Dosage for Pain

Individuals may administer CBD oil in various ways for pain management, such as:

  • Oral administration: CBD products such as gummies are ingested orally and metabolized by the liver before the compound is absorbed into the bloodstream.
  • Sublingual administration: CBD oil tinctures are administered sublingually or under the tongue. The compound bypasses the digestive tract and goes directly into the bloodstream, which offers a faster onset time.
  • Topical application: Topical CBD products such as CBD cream and salves are applied to the skin for localized pain relief. CBD topicals do not get absorbed into the bloodstream(14).
  • Inhalation: Vaping or smoking CBD oil is the fastest way to feel the benefits of the compound as the body absorbs the compound through the lungs.

However, individuals should exercise caution when using vapes to take CBD. Vaping may potentially cause detrimental health risks linked to lung disease(15)

There is no set dosage guide for CBD authorized by the Food and Drug Administration or the FDA specifically for relieving pain. 

Nevertheless, the general recommendation for CBD dosing is to start low and slow. This strategy suggests that individuals should opt for a low dose when beginning with a CBD regimen(16).

Furthermore, according to the journal Current Drug Safety, humans can tolerate approximately 1,500 mg of CBD every day(17).

Nevertheless, it is best to speak with a medical professional background in CBD use and dosing. These experts may advise the proper CBD dosage for a medical condition.    

Various state laws prohibit driving under the influence of controlled substances. However, CBD does not induce impairments of the senses. Therefore, driving when using CBD is legal in most states, and individuals doing so will not earn a DUI (driving under the influence)(18)

However, it is illegal for individuals to drive when taking cannabis products containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) due to THC causing impairments in cognitive and motor skills necessary for safe driving, such as vision and coordination memory, judgment, and attention(19).  

Safeness of Driving While Taking CBD: How to Drive When Taking CBD

Individuals taking CBD may legally drive as long as they are not impaired. As CBD may cause sleepiness, fatigue, and lowered blood pressure, people should discuss CBD usage and the risk of impairment with their physician(20)

According to several CBD websites, the time it takes for individuals to be able to safely drive after taking CBD may depend on the CBD product form, which has varying onset times. 

Nabilone (Cesamet) and dronabinol (Marinol) are cannabis-derived drugs approved in the United States. Marinol has an indication that advises patients not to operate vehicles unless they are sure that the medicine does not cause any adverse side effects on the user. Meanwhile, Cesamet warns users not to drive at all(21).

CBD Side Effects

The general side effects of using CBD may include loss of appetite, dry mouth, fatigue, drowsiness, and diarrhea(22).

In 2018, a study showed that kidney transplant patients suffering from chronic pain may feel dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, and sporadic heat episodes when taking CBD(23).

Furthermore, CBD may inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes. These enzymes are necessary for breaking down or metabolizing various pharmaceutical drugs in the liver. 

Inhibiting these enzymes may cause the medicine’s effects and duration of action to increase(24).

The drugs affected by this activity include antibiotics, antidepressants, antihistamines, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

However, presently, scientific evidence is still inconclusive. More clinical studies are needed to ascertain if CBD for pain may cause detrimental effects on humans.  

It is vital that individuals consult with their physician for medical advice regarding the optimal treatment for their medical condition before using CBD. 

CBD Oil vs. Hemp Oil

Hemp oil and CBD oil are often mistaken as the same product. However, these two products possess significant differences.  

Hemp oil has only small amounts of CBD content or none at all. Moreover, the oil is created by pressing hemp seeds into carrier oils.

Meanwhile, CBD oil is produced by extracting cannabidiol from hemp plants’ flowers, buds, and stalks. 

  1. Cannabidiol (CBD)
  2. Chronic Pain Treatment With Cannabidiol in Kidney Transplant Patients in Uruguay
  3. Ibid.
  4. Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation: Driving
  5. Cannabidiol (CBD)
  6. The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator
  7. Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules
  8. Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System
  9. What are the benefits of CBD — and is it safe to use?
  10. Hemp Production and the 2018 Farm Bill
  11. page 154 of Healing With CBD
  12. A Balanced Approach for Cannabidiol Use in Chronic Pain
  13. Chronic Pain Treatment With Cannabidiol in Kidney Transplant Patients in Uruguay
  14. page 210 of Healing With CBD
  15. Can vaping damage your lungs? What we do (and don’t) know
  16. CBD Dosing
  17. Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent
  18. Can I Get a DUI for Taking CBD?
  19. Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation: Driving
  20. Ibid.
  21. Prescribed Cannabis Medicines and fitness to drive
  22. What are the benefits of CBD — and is it safe to use?
  23. Chronic Pain Treatment With Cannabidiol in Kidney Transplant Patients in Uruguay
  24. page 114 to 115 of Healing With CBD
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