Marijuana has managed to reach new heights of popularity over the course of the past few years. With so many places around the U.S. legalizing the use of medical and recreational marijuana, it seems as though the issue of driving while intoxicated has come up more times than not.
A recent poll came out of Michigan in which more than half of the medical marijuana patients stated that they have driven within two hours of consuming cannabis. 20% of those studied stated that they have driven while very intoxicated on cannabis. The overwhelming sentiment seems to be that many individuals believe driving on marijuana is not dangerous. And while it may be markedly less dangerous than driving while intoxicated on alcohol or other substances, it is still a pretty bad idea.
One of the authors of the study stated that “perhaps more surprising is that many said that they drove under the influence pretty frequently, at least 10 times in the past six months. We didn’t know of other any studies that had asked medical marijuana patients about driving while high, so we were not sure what to expect.” The results have been quite shocking however a lot of individuals seem to continue to respond that they do drive while intoxicated.
The author continued to state that “we know that both alcohol and marijuana have risks and can be dangerous, and we would advise not driving after using either one.” Research has shown that marijuana can greatly increase the amount of time it takes to react to a change on the road.
Marijuana can also have a large impact on coordination which is a bad thing when operating a motor vehicle. If one needs to slow down quite quickly or an animal for example jumps out onto the road, the odds that one intoxicated on marijuana would be able to react in time are greatly lowered.
Of course, it remains a difficult situation due to the amount of those who consume marijuana on a regular basis whether it be for medicinal or recreational purposes. There is still not a lot of overwhelming evidence on how long after consuming cannabis, one would be considered safe to operate a vehicle as well. One of the main difficulties of this is that cannabis is processed by every individual differently. This makes finding a single time period after smoking where one is okay to drive, quite challenging.
One thing that is also of note is that driving while on marijuana should not be compared and therefore lessened when looking at driving while intoxicated on alcohol. The two are different, and the way the body responds when driving is different as well. Additionally, the amount at which one reports the intensity of their high is also highly subjective, making studies harder to judge. All in all, the best advice is to take a cab, or have a friend drive. Driving high or impaired will always come in as a bad idea for everyone.