The Drug Class Blog

May 07

More on Marijuana and Driving

More on Marijuana and driving.

The famous four questions apply again.

1. Is what you are thinking true?

2. Is it really true?

3. How are you feeling or acting because of how you are thinking?

4. How would you feel or act if you thought differently?

I was in a grade 12 class room the other day, when I asked how many of you have been in a car in the last month where the driver had been drinking or smoking weed about a ⅓ of the class put up their hands. (One kid asked if it counted if she was driving).

On further discussion most of the kids who had their hands up believed that it was sort of OK to drive when high.

Change your thinking…. change your life.

The Journal of Safety Research pulled 72 young, male marijuana users into the driving simulator to try to answer some of these questions. First, the study asked how often subjects “drove within the hour following cannabis use in the previous 12 months?” Then it asked participants about their risky driving habits: how risky did these people consider their own driving and how many traffic tickets had they gotten for things like speeding or failing to stop at a light or sign? Finally, the study put these 72 subjects in a driving simulator to see how “risky” they really were in simulated everyday situations.

The more often a person had driven under the influence of cannabis, the riskier were their driving behaviors and the more traffic tickets they had earned. The researches write that, “Taken together, these results indicate that self-reported driving under the influence of cannabis is associated with a risky driving style including a broad range of reckless on-road behaviors and support the problem driving behavior theory.”

Then another driving simulator study gave subjects THC cigarettes – how would they perform while high compared to how they performed sober? The results are, well, sobering. Even with low consumption, “increase in THC dosage alone influences perception of what is a safe distance to leave between cars” (among other risky driving behaviors).

This study also happens to show that the addition of alcohol to THC is especially dangerous – the sum of these two drugs created about 20 percent more dangerous driving behaviors than either drug alone.

So the answer to whether marijuana impairs driving ability is yes, it does. Not only are people who drive under the influence of marijuana more likely to drive in risky ways, but it’s the marijuana and not their personalities alone that create this risky driving. Now in the era of legal recreational marijuana, stay tuned for research like that in the wake of medical marijuana exploring the percentage of fatally injured drivers with measurable blood THC.

What do you think?

Show All Blog Posts