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Can I Drive When Prescribed Medical Cannabis In The UK?

Hey there! Welcome to our friendly and informative guide on driving with medical cannabis. We understand that it can be confusing and worrisome, but don't worry, we've got you covered. Can you drive when prescribed medicinal cannabis in the UK? Let's find out.

Since the legalization of medical cannabis in the UK in November 2018, thousands of patients have gained legal access to cannabis-based medicines. However, there's still a lot of confusion around the rules when it comes to driving with a medical cannabis prescription. Can you drive? What about the police? These are common questions that medical cannabis patients may find themselves asking.


Let's start by addressing the potential side effects of medical cannabis and driving. Depending on the levels of THC present, medical cannabis use can cause significant side effects that can affect a patient's driving ability. These side effects include sedation, decreased cognitive function, slower response times, and drowsiness. It's important to note that the extent of these side effects can differ from patient to patient. However, it's crucial to never drive if you are impaired in any way.


On the other hand, studies have found that CBD is not associated with driving impairment. So, if you are prescribed a CBD-based medical cannabis product, you may face fewer restrictions when it comes to driving. However, it's still important to be mindful that CBD-dominant products can contain small levels of THC that may show up on a drug test, even if they don't cause impairment.



Now, let's talk about the law regarding medical cannabis and driving in the UK. According to UK law, you are obliged to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) of any condition that could potentially affect your driving. Prescribers are required to offer guidance based on your specific circumstances, including your medical condition and the prescribed medicines.


The government-sanctioned report on "Medical Cannabis and Road Safety" by NatCen states that prescribers should provide advice on driving while using medical cannabis, similar to any other medication. This includes being aware of possible interactions with other medications and monitoring patients' responses to their medication, especially if it could potentially impair driving.


To sum it up: driving with legal medical cannabis is not an offense as long as you are not impaired and you are following the guidance provided by your prescriber. However, this doesn't guarantee that medical cannabis patients won't face legal challenges if they are pulled over by the police.


What happens if you get stopped by the police? Regardless of impairment, THC can remain in your blood, saliva, and hair for weeks after consumption. This can put medical cannabis patients in a tricky situation if they are asked to take a roadside drug test. Being convicted of drug driving can result in a minimum one-year driving ban, an unlimited fine, up to 6 months in prison, and a criminal record. Understandably, this can cause concerns for medical cannabis patients.




But here's the good news: medical cannabis patients who are not impaired and who are following their prescriber's advice have a statutory defence that protects them from prosecution. To avoid complications, it is recommended that medical cannabis patients keep a copy of their prescription in their car at all times. This will inform the police that you have a qualifying condition and legal access to cannabis for medicinal purposes. The 'Seed our Future' Campaign has also been launched to provide patients with a 'Statement of Fact' document that outlines their statutory defence regarding their cannabis use.


In 2021, the Seed our Future Campaign helped four medical cannabis patients who had been charged with drug driving. In three of those cases, the officers involved were unaware that the law regarding medical cannabis had changed. These incidents highlight the need for further education, not only among the general public but also among the authorities.


Now, you might wonder how impairment is determined. This remains a grey area in all legal cannabis jurisdictions. The fact is, there is no reliable way to measure cannabis impairment. Roadside drug tests only detect the presence of THC, but they don't test for impairment. The legal limit for THC in the UK is 2 mg/litre of blood. However, THC can remain in your blood long after any impairment has subsided, which can create confusion for both patients and the authorities.


To wrap it all up, as long as you take your medical cannabis as directed by your prescriber and have proof of your prescription, the police should have no need to escalate the situation if you are pulled over. Carrying a copy of the 'Statement of Fact' from the Seed our Future' campaign may also help resolve the situation more quickly.


There is still work to be done to eradicate the stigma against medical cannabis and its patients. However, medical cannabis patients can find comfort in knowing that there are resources available to prevent situations from escalating too far if the worst happens.

In conclusion, driving with medical cannabis requires caution and responsible behaviour. Always prioritize safety and be aware of the potential side effects of your medication. Keep the relevant authorities informed about your medical condition and prescription if it affects your driving ability. Carry copies of your prescription and other supporting documents in case you are stopped by the police. Remember, impairment can be determined by the presence of THC in your system, even if you are not currently impaired. Lastly, rely on your prescriber for guidance and address any concerns you may have.




As the understanding and acceptance of medical cannabis continue to evolve, it is important to stay informed and up to date with the latest information. Safe driving and responsible medication use go hand in hand. We hope this guide has provided you with the information you need to navigate driving with medical cannabis. Drive safely and take care!


A note from the author:

We write to educate, fight stigma, and help people. Our website content is always free, but if you find value in our articles, you can support us on Patreon at https://patreon.com/HighCommittee. Donations are optional and greatly appreciated, as they enable us to continue our mission of providing valuable insights and fostering a more informed understanding of cannabis and psychedelics. Join us in our effort to educate, fight stigma, and make a positive impact.









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