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CBD Oil News University of Sydney-led research finds that 1500mg, the highest daily medicinal dose of cannabidiol (CBD), has no impact on people’s driving or cognitive abilities. Study lead Browse CBD oil news, research and analysis from The Conversation Nearly Half of CBD Oils Are Mislabeled CBD oils derived from hemp are increasingly being used to relieve painful conditions. Studies have found the oils effective in treating migraines and

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University of Sydney-led research finds that 1500mg, the highest daily medicinal dose of cannabidiol (CBD), has no impact on people’s driving or cognitive abilities.

Study lead author Dr Danielle McCartney.

Millions of consumers and patients around the world will be heartened by the results of the latest study on cannabis and driving. The University of Sydney-led research finds that 1500mg, the highest daily medicinal dose of cannabidiol (CBD), has no impact on people’s driving or cognitive abilities.

CBD is a cannabis component widely used for medical as well as ‘wellness’ purposes, such as to induce sleep or boost energy. It is often consumed orally, in oil form.

Most countries, including Australia, allow people to drive while on CBD. In NSW, for example, it is legal provided a driver is not ‘impaired’ due to fatigue and/or lowered blood pressure. The present study shows, contraindications aside, that even at the highest medicinal dose of 1500mg, CBD does not cause impairment.

“Though CBD is generally considered ‘non-intoxicating’, its effects on safety-sensitive tasks are still being established,” said lead author Dr Danielle McCartney, from the University’s Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics. “Our study is the first to confirm that, when consumed on its own, CBD is driver-safe.”

Unlike THC, a cannabis component that can induce sedation, euphoria (a ‘high’) and impairment, CBD does not appear to intoxicate people. Instead, it has been reported to have calming and pain relief effects.

Peak concentrations of CBD in a person’s blood plasma are usually attained within three to four hours after taking it orally, although individual responses vary.

CBD use is increasing in Western nations, with recent University of Sydney research showing that around 55,000 requests to access medicinal CBD have been approved in Australia since 2016. It is most commonly prescribed for pain, sleep disorders and anxiety.

About the study

Published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the study involved 17 participants undertaking simulated driving tasks after consuming either a placebo or 15, 300 or 1500 mg of CBD in oil. These amounts represent frequently consumed dosages: up to 150mg/day over the counter; and up to 1500mg/day for conditions such as epilepsy, pain, sleep disorders and anxiety.

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First, participants had to try to maintain a safe distance between themselves and a lead vehicle, and then ‘drive’ along highways and rural roads. They completed the task between 45-75 minutes after taking their assigned treatment, and then again at between 3.5 and four hours after, to cover the range of plasma concentrations at different times. They repeated this under each of the four different treatments (placebo plus three different doses).

The researchers measured participants’ control of the simulated car, tested by how much it weaved or drifted (a standardised measure of driving ability), as well as their cognitive function, subjective experiences, and the CBD concentrations in their plasma.

They concluded that no dose of CBD induced feelings of intoxication or appeared to impair either driving or cognitive performance.

“We do, however, caution that this study looked at CBD in isolation only, and that drivers taking CBD with other medications should do so with care,” Dr McCartney said.

A 2020 study, also by the University of Sydney, found very low doses of vapourised (‘vaped’) CBD – an uncommon method of taking the drug – were driver-safe.

Declaration: This research was funded by the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, University of Sydney.

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Nearly Half of CBD Oils Are Mislabeled

CBD oils derived from hemp are increasingly being used to relieve painful conditions. Studies have found the oils effective in treating migraines and fibromylagia, and recent research found that a proprietary blend of CBD oil helped relieve symptoms in 9 out of 10 people suffering from chronic pain.

But a new study at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine found that nearly half of the CBD oil products tested in a lab were mislabeled. Of the 80 CBD oils purchased online or in retail stores, only 43 had concentrations of cannabidiols that were within 10% of their label claims – an accuracy rate of just 54 percent.

One oil had a CBD concentration that was 159% higher than its label indicated. Another oil had only 17% of the CBD it was supposed to have.

“As most consumers are using CBD products as therapeutic treatments for some types of medical condition, the dosing is important when considering the potential for CBD accumulation, elevation of liver enzymes, and drug-drug interactions,” lead author Erin Johnson reported in the Journal of Cannabis Research.

“The findings reported here emphasize the continued need for clear and consistent regulation from federal and state agencies to ensure label accuracy of CBD products and subsequent enforcement. These results also indicate the need for continued development of good manufacturing practices and testing standards.”

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In a separate analysis of the same CBD oils, Johnson and her colleagues found that most contained trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive substance in cannabis. Five of the 21 CBD oils that were labeled “THC Free” contained detectable levels of THC.

“THC is not allowed at the Olympics. It’s not allowed in many sports organizations. But athletes use CBD because it helps them recover, and it helps them with different facets of their training,” co-author Shanna Babalonis said in a press release. “So I think that one of the key takeaways from this work is to say that the public needs to question whether there’s THC in their CBD products.”

The two studies are certainly not the first to find that cannabis products are often mislabeled. They point to a continuing problem since passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp under federal law. Although hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, cannabis companies have found ways to tweak its chemical composition to produce concentrated levels of delta-8 THC, which has a mild psychoactive and intoxicating effect.

The FDA considers delta-8 THC to be an unapproved drug, but because it comes from hemp – a legal substance – its regulatory status is unclear. Recently, the FDA sent the first warning letters to five cannabis companies, not for mislabeling, but for making unsubstantiated medical claims about delta-8 THC.

Until the FDA or individual states confront the widespread mislabeling of CBD products, industry insiders say it’s likely to continue.

“The mislabeling of Delta-8 products is not surprising but is a result of poor quality controls that are present through the category. Delta 8 can be unsafe for people to use, especially if it not labeled. This is due to the psychoactive component of Delta 8,” said John McDonagh, CEO of CBD producer NextEvo Naturals.

“Some states have started to regulate Delta 8 to take it off the market. The FDA is limited as it doesn’t have sufficient enforcement resources, so the best solution for now is for states to take action.”

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