New breakthrough study on marijuana driving

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A new study in the works examines the effects of marijuana while driving. This to the old November 8 ...

A few weeks before the November 8 election, opponents and supporters of Proposition 64 continue their efforts against recreational marijuana, including in their speeches the mortality that marijuana could cause on the road network… Reputable officials and researchers feel ready to answer and decide with one of the last arguments of the opponents: Is cannabis dangerous while driving?

The prohibitionist discourse hurt

According to 58% polls support the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes, owned by a majority of Californians. Yet the Automobile Club of Southern California (associated with the AAA) is not among the supporters of the 64 proposal ...


Last week, the AAA announced its opposition to the legalization of cannabis in California and Maine, which are also due to vote on recreational marijuana this year. Le Club Auto affirms that deaths are linked to the traffic of marijuana (including medical in their speech) ...

“The AAA Road Safety Foundation found that the proportion of drivers involved in fatal crashes who had recently used marijuana more than doubled after Washington legalized the recreational drug. "

But the AAA, although in opposition to legalization, casts doubt and retorts that "there is currently no easy way to verify if a driver is impaired by marijuana: Unlike alcohol, you cannot not determined by a simple roadside check ”


The Club goes on to say that the effects of marijuana on driving, make it slower, affect reaction time, decision-making and inflicts reduced coordination. However the AAA admits that "search results are mixed. But some studies show that marijuana use doubles the risk of an accident "...


Driving under the influence will remain illegal even if the 64 proposal passes. States including Colorado and Washington where cannabis is quasi-legal, allow authorized rates at 5 nanograms ... What currently makes skeptics experts about the value of this quantification.

A real challenge

Le Dr. Tom Marcotte, co-director of the University of California at San Diego Center for Medical Cannabis Research says the five nanogram standard is not very convincing. That unlike alcohol where there is really a clear correlation and linear effect of the effect, THC is not a good indicator of drunk driving.

"You drink more alcohol, your blood alcohol level goes up and you are suspicious of driving. with cannabis you smoke, your THC levels in the blood increase and cancel quickly, then very quickly »

THC is a fat-soluble substance that travels through body fluids, such as blood, and is deposited in oily environments, such as the brain ... This makes road tests particularly complicated, blood tests, urinary and salivary tests are not not able to correctly quantify the THC level. And asking the police to analyze the brain tissue at the test site, is an impossible thing ... In addition the food form of THC does not travel through the blood and can take hours before it be digested. Which raises the THC in peak ...

The salivary test, completely useless and distorted in the case of THC

A decisive study

UCSD is in the early stages of a driving study that could help fill some areas of darkness. The tested subjects will smoke a placebo or THC, then the team of Dr. Marcotte will follow them throughout the day.


Their driving performance will be controlled using a simulator in a controlled laboratory. Blood, urine and breath samples will be taken. But the key to this study will focus this time on the hypothetical weakening of marijuana. This is done through cognitive tests specially designed by researchers, experts in illegal drug recognition. These agents are specially trained law enforcement officers to assess a person under the influence of drugs other than alcohol. The evaluation will consider "healthy" topics to develop guidelines for cannabis.

"With alcohol, you see people staggering, what you do not see with cannabis" says Marcotte

Stoned driving


California officials are really interested in seeing the involvement of cannabis in driving. This is the first time that we study the subject by including impaired. In addition, Dr. Marcotte is not at his first attempt. In 2011 he examined the effects of prescription drugs, such as antidepressants, sleeping pills, painkillers on the driver. Judging by the results, he compared this drug influence to a "stoned driving". He noticed that the drivers used to board the morning after taking this kind of medicine. And a few hours after smoking a joint ...

Glasses required during a "Drug Test" ...

However, it should be noted that this study does not take chronic smokers into account. Those whose tolerance has been built over time ... This last variable is essential in determining when the person is too weak to drive. It should finally contain the key to the development of a road test that will not be limited to the rate of THC ...

Tags : ProhibitionMedical research and scientific advancesLegal status
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