Not many people would advise driving under the influence of cannabis. Most states have some type of explicit law against driving while high (some against just having marijuana in your system), and there are more coming down the legal pipeline all the time. California, which already has a law against driving while lit, has just passed another law that can fine you for smoking while driving.
And yet there are some instances in which cannabis, specifically CBD extract, may actually help someone drive.
Chase Rief, a 16 year-old from Colorado, has suffered epilepsy for at least four years. When he was first diagnosed two years ago, he was told by medical professionals that the life he envisioned for himself would no longer be possible. He told the Canon City Daily Record that he was told in the hospital, “I would never walk again and I would have to start occupational therapy to learn to live in my wheelchair.”
Chase not only wanted to drive, he wanted to drive racecars. “I always wanted to drive — my biggest dream was to be able to get my license,” he said.
The teenager had heard about a paraplegic who raced up Pikes Peak and was going to try to drive with all hand controls, when his family switched him off of traditional pharmaceuticals to CBD oil. Then, he said, his life changed.
He went from taking oil mixed into drinks and lotions three times a day to using it every two to three weeks, and as needed for pain. “I haven’t had a seizure in almost three years now because of that stuff,” he said.
The CBD didn’t just help him physically, he said, but mentally as well. “The very first day I took that, I felt the cloudiness go out of my head — I didn’t have any more fog in my brain.” Since he started cannabinoid treatment, Chase has been able to get a license, graduated high school early, and received a full ride scholarship to a trade school where he plans to train as a mechanic.
He’s also driven in a race, where he won a second place trophy, and attained sponsored from a medicinal cannabis facility.
The science of cannabis’s effect on driving is still a little iffy. While some studies show that consuming THC has an effect on psychomotor skills (though one consistent with prescription drugs), there is little study on the effect of CBD, which has no psychotropic side effects on consumers.
Photo via Flickr user Royal Broll