University of California-San Diego is conducting a study out of its Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to better understand how marijuana use impairs driving. The study is the largest of its kind and seeks to gather some hard data on levels of cannabis and impacts on common driving scenarios, according to High Times. Participants will be paid for a full-day driving assessment in which they will smoke a joint before completing a variety of simulated driving scenarios. The joints are rolled on site, and each has a varying level of THC concentrations carefully monitored by the researchers.
The study has two aims: to gather data on how different cannabis concentrations affect different drivers and to examine how long the high from THC will continue to affect the driver to the point of impairment, if at all. These answers are so crucial in the on-going efforts to legalize marijuana nationwide. A huge roadblock for many politicians, even the ones who do not fall for weak anti-marijuana propaganda, is the uncertainty about how to regulate marijuana usage on the roads. Methods that commonly are used to test for marijuana can detect it in a person’s system for up to two weeks. Clearly a person would not be too impaired to drive for 14 days after consuming marijuana. Therefore, law enforcement officers must rely on field sobriety tests to determine cannabis-related impairment. Their current tests, however, are largely geared toward alcohol or drugs that create a deep level of impairment. The effects of cannabis are often softer and less clear. Participants in this study will take a field sobriety test after smoking and completing driving tests, which in turn could help officers fine-tune their own tests to more effectively identify impairment for marijuana users.Besides regulation efforts, most marijuana consumers are responsible users who want information on how to best monitor themselves and make good decisions about driving. When a person is given a strong prescription, the label has a warning if the patient should not drive or operate machinery. Alcohol labels show the proof on the label, and people begin to learn even before they are 21 about the ways alcohol affects the body and how to safely consume it once they hit a legal age. Cannabis users want similar safety information, and they want it to be realistic and not overly cautious to the point of ridiculousness.
This study will just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to analyzing cannabis use and driving. As our L.A. marijuana DUI lawyers know, there are many more ways to consume cannabis than just smoking a joint, and each one affects the body differently. Edibles, vaping, lotions, tinctures — they each vary greatly in the ways they work, how long they take to feel the effects, and how long the sensation lasts. This study is an important beginning to research into cannabis safety, but there will be much more work ahead of us. Our team of marijuana DUI defense attorneys understand the many factors at play when it comes to marijuana and driving. If you are arrested for a cannabis-related DUI, our attorneys are prepared to use our vast knowledge and experience to build your case.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients, defendants, workers and those facing criminal marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
Massive Study On Driving High To Take Place In California, July 27, 2018, By Paul Gaita, The Fix
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Pennsylvania Must Ditch Harsh Marijuana DUI Law, June 17, 2018, Cannabis Law Group