How Dangerous is Driving While High?

Marijuana advocates do not support driving under the influence of marijuana as authorities continue to look into the true danger of marijuana impaired driving. As more and more states legalize marijuana use it is important to have a complete understanding of the substance’s effects on driving behavior.

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OurLos Angeles marijuana lawyers hope individuals do not drive under the influence of any substance, including marijuana. We also believe it is important to stay current with scientific research on the subject.

Recently in Washington State and Colorado a study revealed that test subjects had to smoke almost an entire gram of marijuana before they were too impaired to drive.

The test really showed how arbitrary legal limit (5 nanograms) is when it comes to resulting impairment. The volunteers were given one practice lap through the driving course designed to test basic driving skills and were then presented with a strain of marijuana known as blueberry train wreck for them to smoke.

After the initial run through the course the volunteers smoked three tenths of a gram of marijuana and drove through the course with a driving instructor in the passenger seat. With one of the volunteers at nearly seven times the legal limit (36.7 nanograms) the driving instructor stated that the volunteer was still performing satisfactorily behind the wheel.

Another subject was performing fine behind the wheel while driving with 26 nanograms of cannabis in his system – about five times the legal limit.

Studies like this really reveal the over-sensitivity built in to the driving statutes. Experts explain the study’s results make sense because individuals who are impaired on marijuana and driving tend to be hyper aware of their impairment and extra cautious as a result.

In contrast, an individual impaired by alcohol is frequently more aggressive and completely unaware of their level of impairment.

Opponents of marijuana legalization are quick to cite statistics about how many accidents involve drivers with marijuana in their system.

However, there is a complication with many of these statistics. The question is what else did the driver have in their system?

For example, if a driver has a large amount of alcohol in their system and a small amount of marijuana it is difficult to pin point which substance is responsible for the majority of the resulting impairment.

A lot of research indicates that alcohol is actually more damaging when it comes to driver impairment but its difficult to test the two combined.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
More Blog Entries:

California: City Council to Review Bill Allowing Dispensaries , December 29, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
Budding Industry for Labs Testing Marijuana, December 27, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
Additional Resources:

How high is too high? KIRO tests pot-smoking drivers to find out, Feb 13, 2013, KIROTV.com.