CBD is legal in Australia for medical use, however, there is a hazy understanding of the legalities that surround CBD.
With cannabis medications prescriptions growing across Australia, confusion is also growing around drug testing, impairment and how cannabis can affect driving or working. The TGA require medical cannabis prescribers to inform their patients about the legalities around driving and performing safety sensitive tasks whilst they are prescribed medications containing THC. However, CBD is a different story.
Firstly, what is CBD?
CBD, short for Cannabidiol, it is a chemical compound derived from the Cannabis plant. CBD Oil is produced by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting the CBD oil with a carrier oil such as hemp seed or MCT (coconut) oil.
In workplace and roadside drug tests, employers and police are not testing for CBD, due to CBD being non-psychoactive. They are testing for THC which is psychoactive and is detectable in a drug test.
However, there are CBD products on the market that are CBD dominant but contain a small trace of THC (2mg/mL), which may cause impairment depending on the patient’s dosage.
What does this mean?
This means that if your medical cannabis product contains any trace of THC in it you may potentially fail a drug test for any residual THC in that CBD product. If you are using an illegally sourced CBD oil, there is the concern of not knowing what amount of THC and CBD is in that product. This is why it is vital that you are prescribed a legal product manufactured in a government approved facility which undergoes rigorous tests in order to be supplied with a certificate of analysis that gives information of the amounts of THC and CBD is present in that product.
When will THC leave my system?
There are numerous factors that determine the length of time THC takes to depart your system. A few factors to note are the amount taken, length of time you have been taking your product, metabolism, method of administration and even your levels of hydration. As everyone is a different case, it is difficult to determine when THC has completely left one’s body.
Cannabis metabolites are fat-soluble, which means that they bind to fat molecules in your body. As a result, it can take some time for them to leave your system. According to Mayo Clinic Proceedings, cannabis is detectable in urine for the following amounts of time after last use:
- Occasional users (up to three times a week): 3 days
- Moderate users (four times a week): 5 to 7 days
- Chronic users (daily): 10 to 15 days
- Chronic heavy users (multiple times a day): more than 30 days
What if my product does contain THC?
If your CBD product does contain THC then it is best to check your workplace’s drug and alcohol policy to see what they test for and how they test for THC. Medical cannabis is still a medicine surrounded by negative stigma, speak to your employer and doctor about the topic before disclosing you are undertaking medical cannabis therapy.
For roadside tests, it is always best to disclose that you are currently undertaking medical cannabis therapy prior to a swab test. Keep in mind that even though you are using medical cannabis legally, you will not be excused from the law. If you test positive for THC the charges could receive a fine, lose your license, or even receive criminal charges for driving under the influence.
Driving laws differ by state
THC is illegal throughout Australia in each territory and state. However, each state has different laws around the legalities of driving. Below is a collation of links for each driving law in different states:
- Medical cannabis and driving in Queensland
- Medical cannabis and driving in Tasmania – N/A (No documentation available)
- Medical cannabis and driving in Australian Capital Territory
- Medical cannabis and driving in Northern Territory
- Medical cannabis and driving in South Australia
- Medical cannabis and driving in Victoria
- Medical cannabis and driving in New South Wales
- Medical cannabis and driving in Western Australia
In summary, if you have consumed a product containing THC, driving with any THC system is illegal whether it is a legal prescription or a black-market product. Regardless of legality, you should never drive whilst impaired.
It’s essential to discuss with your doctor about the product you’re using and the effects it can have on a drug test.
The contents do not constitute legal advice, are not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice or other professional advice in relation to any matters you or your organisation may have.
CanView does not endorse the use of Medicinal Cannabis without lawful prescription. Just like any Medicine, Medicinal Cannabis may have both positive and negative side-effects on the user, and should only be prescribed to patients by a Health Professional with the authority and expertise to do so. The information provided by CanView is for informational and educational purposes, and is of a general nature. If you are interested in accessing Medicinal Cannabis please talk to your doctor and request a referral to a Medicinal Cannabis clinic.