RESEARCH - Young Drivers at Risk From Cannabis Use

MarihuanaEven five hours after smoking marihuana, young drivers are at an increased risk of a crash according to the results of a clinical trial conducted at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre.

According to the study "The research found that performance declined significantly, in key areas such as reaction time, even five hours after inhaling the equivalent of less than one typical joint. The participants’ driving performance, which was tested in a driving simulator, deteriorated as soon as they were exposed to the kinds of distractions common on the road."

Comments

Driving Impaired

The “rant” in me is on fire with this topic.  I have encountered sooooo many drivers who do pot before/during driving, underage or legal, and when I challenge their negligence I get the same repeated response.... “we drive slower, so no danger there”..... seriously, that’s their justification.  Then they carry on about stats and lack of proof to those charged with negligence when they are deemed pot-impaired.  We are now a country that accepts a pot-smoking (drugs) society and promotes its use as “normal.”  

My biggest question that I have put out there in the media and politicians, which for reasons unknown to me have not been speared headed, is;  why are we permitting advertising for drugs and paraphernalia when the same rules for tobacco should apply to pot?  We have a legal age limit for use/purchase (as does tobacco) and we are still in the research stages of the health effects to its use.  This product should not be advertised.

Unimpaired 1 hr after, impaired 3 & 5 hrs after

The study's general conclusion was a "100-mg dose of cannabis by inhalation had no effect on simple driving-related tasks, but there was significant impairment on complex tasks, especially when these were novel." An interesting finding was that drivers' vigilance IMPROVED when measured one hour after the ingestion of cannabis.  At 3 and 5 hours after ingestion drivers were impaired when dealing with complex and new driving situations, either because they had come down from the “high” and become tired and/or more easily distracted, or perhaps because of the "emergence of THC metabolites such as 11-OH". The study in effect suggests we should not worry too much about someone on the road who smoked a joint an hour ago as long as we can get them off the road for a following length of time that is more than 4 hour but how long the study doesn't say as it did not look at performance beyond the 5 hours mark. The presence of THC is not by itself an indicator as it has been established that it can be detected long after its effect has disappeared.

As for advertising, the only ads I have seen are the ones telling us not to drive high. Maybe I am not as observant as I should be, but this does suggest to me there's not a problem with ads in practice yet. If we are looking at how ads for other potentially addictive stuff (tobacco, caffeinated sugary drinks) should be controlled then maybe we should stop advertising of sugary drinks because of links to life-shortening diabetes and obesity.

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