It is illegal to drive while you have a lot of alcohol in your system because it can impair your judgment, lose focus, and slows down your reflexes while you are behind the wheel, leading to a serious car accident. Marijuana can have the same consequences. Being aware of the dangers you can face driving while you are high on cannabis, you will make you think twice before getting behind the wheel.
A study in the “Drug and Alcohol Dependence” journal found that recreational marijuana use affects driving even when users are not intoxicated. Researchers used a customized driving simulator to see the impact of marijuana use on driving performance. Marijuana users had not used for 12 hours and were not intoxicated. The study showed that heavy marijuana users had poorer driving performance compared to non-users. For example, the simulator showed that marijuana users hit more pedestrians, exceeded the speed limit more often, made fewer stops at the red light, and made more centerline crossings. Despite the findings in this study, researchers say that not everyone who is exposed to marijuana will automatically be a bad driver. This is something especially important to consider for medical marijuana patients.
The Complications of Testing a Driver on Marijuana
While there are blood and urine tests that can detect marijuana use, traces of the drug can stay in our system for a long time, they cannot tell us if the use occurred earlier that day or that month. They also cannot tell us at what level that person is under the influence like alcohol can. For alcohol, you know that you are cognitively impaired if your blood alcohol level is 0.08 or higher. This helps make driving laws easier as evidence points out that it is unsafe to drive at this level. Now that over 10 states have legalized marijuana, it shows that more laws need to be enforced when it comes to having marijuana in your system while driving.
Since THC is marijuana’s main intoxicant, driving will have to be outlawed to people who have a certain level of THC in their system. In Colorado, for example, any driver who tests higher than five nanograms of THC per millimeter of blood cannot be behind the wheel. If more states plan on legalizing marijuana use, more needs to be done to ensure that marijuana users do not endanger the lives of other drivers just like with alcohol laws.
At Alta Loma Transformational Living, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms. Alta Loma uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan. We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.