We hear a lot about the hazards of drunk driving, but here's something else to put on your radar: A study in the British Medical Journal found that marijuana nearly doubles the risk of vehicle collisions.
Researchers conducted a systematic review of nine studies on the subject of marijuana and driving accidents, which incorporated almost 50,000 participants.
Alcohol impairs drivers' speed and reaction time, while cannabis affects spatial location, said Mark Asbridge, associate professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Among impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers, and motor vehicle crash victims, marijuana is the most prevalent illegal drug that has been detected, according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Drivers who have recently smoked marijuana may follow cars too closely, and swerve in and out of lanes, Asbridge said.
People who are impaired by alcohol often recognize that they're impaired by alcohol, but "people under the influence of cannabis often deny feeling impaired in any way," Asbridge noted.
It's not unusual for young people to go to a party and give the "designated driver" responsibility to the person who uses marijuana, Asbridge said.
"There clearly is a lot of misconception about the extent to which cannabis impairs performance," he said. "People just don't believe it."
As with alcohol, cannabis has different effects on different people. People metabolize cannabis in different ways. Some inhale more than others.
The effects of cannabis tend to wear off within three to four hours, whereas alcohol can mess your thinking up longer. Depending on how much you drank, you may not be able to drive for up to 12 hours after you finish drinking.
If the driver is 35 or younger, there's a higher likelihood of marijuana consumption leading to collisions, previous research has found.
There's not enough information known about the effects of marijuana doses on collisions - in other words, what level of cannabis in a person's system correlates most with crashes.
And Asbridge's conclusions are based on observational studies, meaning there were no controlled conditions imposed to look at the effects of marijuana.
One problem in some of the existing research is that there was no measurement of cannabis within two to three hours of driving. Inactive metabolites of THC, a chemical found in marijuana, can be present in urine for weeks or even a month after usage; marijuana usage so long ago would not affect driving performance or collisions. So Asbridge's group looked only at studies where there was a recent measurement. They also looked at studies that looked at both drivers who used marijuana and those who did not to compare the collision rate.
To deter marijuana usage just before driving, there is roadside testing for cannabis in Australia, western Europe and the United States, Wayne Hall of the University of Queensland in Australia said in an accompanying editorial.
Hall called for further research to evaluating the impact of roadside drug testing on preventing driver deaths connected to vehicle accidents and cannabis use.
What is done about it ? NOTHING
Legalize marajuana, then tax and regulate the crud out of it. Put similar regulations on it as are on alcohol (age/vehicle use/public actions under the influence/etc). The reality is that the drug is already on the street. It being illegal only means it's harder to control.
In 1992, a study released by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicated that alcohol is by far the leading cause of drug-related traffic accidents, while marijuana poses a negligible danger, except when combined with alcohol. In an analysis of blood samples from 1,882 drivers killed in vehicular accidents in seven states, alcohol was found in over 51%. Marijuana was a distant second to alcohol, at just 6.7%. Because two-thirds of those deceased marijuana users were also under the influence of alcohol at the time of death, the actual number of drivers who tested positive for cannabis was 2.2%, the exact number determined by the NTSB in 1988. The US government’s 1992 NHTSA research, considered the most comprehensive study of cannabis use among driving fatalities, was suppressed for almost two years because it contradicted America’s “just say no” anti-pot propaganda.
The active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread, say researchers at Harvard University who tested the chemical in both lab and mouse studies.
The new findings “were against our expectations,” said Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles, a pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30 years.
“We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use,” he said. “What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.”
Then how does this study account for the recent findings released by the University of Colorado that of the 16 states that have medicinal cannabis laws THE TRAFFIC FATALITY RATE HAS DECREASED BY 9% and beer sales are down by 5%!!! Statistics can say whatever you want them to.
Reform our National Drug Laws now!!! Legalize Cannabis. Eliminate mandatory minimum sentences. Think about it.
... the Univ or Colorado study was over a twenty year span, by the way.
How is pot illegal? Well in the 1930's congress need a new agency to fight drugs but at the sametime make money in the private sector. So, they attack it with racism back in the day. So, why is it still illegal to this day? Well now they have to go over laws to make it legal and tax it right to make the most money off of it and plus bad stigma that comes with it. If you let pot still be illegal in some ways we promote racism due to the fact that it was used to make it illegal. Tobacco is more dangerous than pot will ever be. Tobacco causes cancer, impairment for 10mins, make u sick, health problems, and addictive. Why is Tobacco not illegal? harder to grow and make cigs. Easier to make profit from private sector and the government. Pot causes impairment for 3 to 4 hrs, could make you sick depends, helps fight lung cancer, provides pain relief, makes you happy/hungry/relaxed, kill some brain cells(beer does the same thing but worse), and everyone can grow it (bad for companys and government). purchase of tobacco/medical drugs/beer would drop a lot lose profit. so it stays illegal
For more effective impact, instead of only 'preaching to the choir', why not also share these pages of opinions with your congress-critters, both Senators and Representatives? If everyone who reads this and similar would find more articles, both pro and con, and email them and especially the comments to the legislative branch of the federal government (the only ones who can change the law), it'd have more chance of achieving the desired result.
WHAT IDIOTS DID THIS STUDY,,HOW PHONEY
Chill out. You're just high.
For me it just depends on how much you are going to pay attention. I used to drive home from London very frequently after four or five joints, i also used to drive into London doing the same thing. Marijuana has a totally different mode of acton in my experience and if you want to focus and concentrate you can if you want. It made very little difference to my driving (I speed everywhere – motorways/highways 90-100mph) with the exception of a slight increase in paranoia. Driving is a seperate skill of its own which requires practice.
To be good a high speed driving you need practice and the ability to judge distances and speed and PLANNING.
To drive whilst high you need practice and to rely on that paranoia. Marijuana doesn't affect your body in the same way alcohol does. It might make you tired etc but that is more likely to negate driving all together. Unlike being drunk the feeling of beng high can often disappear altogether in cold weather. (yeay Britain!)
The real issue is driving. It has been proven that alcohol negatively affects driving with zero rebuttals. If you look on the BBC website in 2000 the BMJ (or related) says the 'green' makes little to no difference' Suddenly now it does. However we have a much harder driving test than the USA or Canada, far narrower and extremely irregular roads, most of our roads are in unbelievable condition e.g. Surrey, Kent, Greater London. We travel in greater densities because of our geography and practically all car crashes occur at low speeds. Most accidents are are far from fatal.
Our most frequent car crashers are inexperienced young people (We had a spate of teenagers who passed their tests then the same day either died driving off cliffs or put their cars in ditches or off mountains! (Try not to laugh)) or decrepid old people who are incompetent drivers out of touch with the modern state of driving (i.e. fast, decisive and in a hurry!)
The irony of the debate i suppose is that one can still legally drink and drive.. It's like a pintof beer (maybe 1/2), a small glass of wine or a single (25ml shot) and mixer. One or two drinks is unlikely to afffect the vast majority or experienced drinkers and/or drivers but it's dependent on tolerance and perception rather than the regression to the mean. i.e. the worst drivers and the least tolerant people. As we know there was no control and its was just a study of a study so its like using the guy who helped gloss over Iran Contra to sit on the 9/11 commission. you'll get the results you want because you're not really doing your own experiment.
I think the main point is that you can't criticize marijuana if you drink alcohol because roughly they do the same thing in excess. giggling, laughter, potential vomiting, incontinence, whiteouts, poor/somehow enhanced sexual performance, lethargy/arousal and the induction of sleep.
BUt the key question beyond that is why, if alcohol has a far worse effect on driving, has it not been more rigourously controlled? Presumng that on the one hand alcohol is legal but causes FAR more accidents/tragedies than marijuana which is illegal; what therefore could the justification be for not limiting alcohol particularly in a country reknowned for being car dependent outside of all but the largest of cities.
In essence, you're saying that "two wrongs makes a right". If we allow people to drink alcohol & drive and cause fatal accidents, then we should allow people to "smoke marijuana & drive and cause fatal accidents". Your logic is very scarry !!
And twice in as many minutes Ron Harding misses the point.
Right, driving impaired, regardless of how you got impaired, increases the risk of accident and injury. Even cold medication can impair you. We already knew this.
I get high every day. To be more 'correct', I stay high 24/7 365. I smoke more pot than the snoop dogg himself. I drive everywhere, all the time, every day. The only times I ever wrecked a vehicle was: age 16.. dumb and sober; age 19.. drunk. This article is a load of bollocks.
James T Kirk . . . . you must have been smoking something or in "warp drive" when you wrote this comment !!
You have a serious chemical dependency, sir. Anyone who's in a constant altered state – regardless of which substance – is in serious need of treatment.
They forgot to mention that the liquor and tobacco industry paid for this socalled study.
Paragraph 1: A study in the British Medical Journal found that marijuana nearly doubles the risk of vehicle collisions.
A few lines later: There's not enough information known about the effects of marijuana doses on collisions – in other words, what level of cannabis in a person's system correlates most with crashes.
Make up your mind. Your observational studies skills suck.
Quite the opposite, James.
A meta-analysis is one of the most powerful epidemiological study designs, although it's certainly limited by its source data.
Most powerful short of carrying out an actual randomized clinical trial. Something, we ethically can't do, at least not directly. You really want to put others in danger for bad driving?
Amazing how many people think they're experts in the face of data. From their own n=1 personal experience.
Let's not get get nasty . . . . it's probably the effect of all that marijuana you're smoking.
If they cant make it a real clinical study, then how the hell is THIS study supposed to have ANY truth or significance to it??
Let me make it more to your understanding...since you seem to be a little sheepish..
There ya go..now you should understand.
~Blessed Be to all~
Oh please, a drunk driver would zoom right through a stop sign while some pothead would wait for it to turn green
LMAO, I've done that!!! Waited for the stop sign to turn green, then start wondering what's wrong with it because it's NOT TURNING GREEN!!! Notice I didn't say I got mad that it wasn't turning green, just started to get a little curious...LOL Honestly, I think that IF anything at ALL, I would go tap on someone's bumper, then say "Oh, my bad, couldn't press the brake pedal fast enough.....can I get you a doughnut??" I mean, come on, it's not like alcohol, where you are angry and/or sick and puking all over the other drivers' car....I think this study is bogus, they're trying every way they can to keep marijuana illegal and there isn't a good enough reason why and they know it...just my opinion....GO GREEN!
Difference between alcohol and cannabis collisions: Drunk driver speed at collision = 90mph. Cannabis user speed at collision = 7 mph. You may double your risk of collision but it will be more like, "man sorry about your bumper" as opposed to a life flight to the local trauma center.
Yeah, we need people doing 7mph on our highways.
"People who are impaired by alcohol often recognize that they're impaired by alcohol, but 'people under the influence of cannabis often deny feeling impaired in any way.'"
Case in point.
They're not gettin' good stuff.
I've read that in over half the accidents involving drivers testing for marijuana they also find alcohol use as well. Maybe in some cases it's the alcohol causing the accidents rather than marijuana.
"Drivers who have recently smoked marijuana may follow cars too closely, and swerve in and out of lanes, Asbridge said."
I can't buy this. Studies of driving under the influence of pot have shown that people tend to drive more carefully. They certainly don't tend to swerve.
What a pile of bull crap. I do not believe one word of this study.
Because you likely didn't read it.
And even if you did, you likely lack the expertise to interpret it properly (much less understand it).
Leave the science to the big boys/girls.
There's some truths in there, albeit very few. Driving while intoxicated is always more dangerous than driving sober, even if it's equally as bad as driving while tired. That doesn't mean it should be illegal to use the drug that makes driving more dangerous.
This was NOT a study. 50,000 people and NOTHING controlled??
Go back to sleep.
~Blessed Be to all~
Uh oh, E is showing his superiority through dismissal and sarcasm. He must really be smart.
What a Smart E. I'm a big boy and I drank and smoked for a long time. 4 wrecks while drinking. None while smoking. Sometimes overly opinionated people hold studies in with hand picked participants to get a desired outcome. Leave the science to experts. I'd rather see someone relieve a little stress smoking every now and then, rather than be so stressed out that they take it out on their children or commit suicide. Sometimes people have bad things happen to them and it's a lifesaver to be able to just forget about it for a minute or two. Do some research for yourself E and quit believing everything you read online and see on TV.
Broken record article, nothing but a lobbyist's smokescreen to encourage views to vote to have the state hold onto anti-marijuana funding.
That's exactly what it is.
so does texting...so what's your point?
I believe both should be banned.
What was your point again?
I believe neither should be banned. Can you decipher my point?
This article states that people who are high are less likely to admit they are impaired than people who are drunk. What a load of crap.
No controlled conditions imposed on the study.That means your study means NOTHING.
You try designing a study, then.
And funny. The tobacco industry said the same thing about smoking and medical diseases.
DUI is already against the law...so I don't really see this being a good reason to keep marijuana illegal.
No news....Drive high..die...We already knew this
You lost me with "swerving and following too close". Utter BS.
Are you folks seriously debating which type of impaired driving is better or worse? If you collide with me, ruin my car and injure me – I'm still going be worse off. Grow up.
Jerry Alexander DeMarco
Don't smoke and drive......stay home and chill!!!!
All this is , is a distraction from Big Pharma responsibility, and Big Pharma deregulation.
There have been way more conclusive studies of marijuana usage with drivers within the past decade that conclude almost the exact opposite of what these findings have shown from UK.
They are protecting the Big Phrama companies, and the degenerate POS Big Pharma money-makers, and Govt regulators. Period.
~Blessed Be to all~
The article even states that there was no controlled conditions in this 'study'. With 50,000 people no less.
Yeah right. Utter BS.
~Blessed Be to all~
THATS B.S. even if it was true who are you going to hurt going 5 mph
My friend regularly drove stoned and he was a very cautious, safe driver. He was more aware of the environment, our velocity, and we were more open with our communication when things were unsafe.
This same friend sober is reckless and speeds excessively. I've once seen him work the stick, talk on the cell, eat a sandwich, AND drive over the speed limit. He was also a dick about being cautioned, unlike when high.
Has anyone noticed that over the last 3 years, the British have been trying to revive the myth that marijuana is dangerous? After nearly a century of junk science that has repeatedly been debunked and always found to be funded by some group with a financial interest, there is only one question we need concern ourselves with; Who is paying the British Medical Society for these studies?
I fired someone because I found out she was a pothead....was I wrong?....LOL
Depends on the work? If it is a doctor, factory work? If it was a janitor, cashier, and office worker. yes, you were. Due to it makes you more relaxed it would might make her focus a little more on her job.
Did they smoke at work? If not, I think it depends on how they did their job, rather than what they did "not one the clock". Would you discriminate against someone who goes home and drinks after work everyday?
Can the Mythbusters please do a test on this?
Over 40 Years of smoking experience, and twenty of Drinking. No wrecks, Know more from experience than these LIARS.
If You are a crappy driver to begin with, You will cause accidents!!!
How about they do a paper on the effects of incompetent drivers from the U.K. and then ask them after the fact if these factors are the issue? Anyways, I've nevvver caused an accident, and from a more rational perspective, MY FINDINGS are that most accidents are Directly Atributable to General Stupidity rather than chemicle impairment. That being said I hate drunk drivers they are accidents waiting to happen.
POT makes You slow down and enjoy the drive, most I can say from this experience are much safer drivers when HIGH than when Not, seriously, if driving under the speed limit is considered to be unsafe what does that say about speed limits and Streight NON-Intoxicated individuals???
Incidentally, They failed to mention that this study also indicated that most of these "accidents" involved Persons NOT under the influence REAR-ENDING STONED DRIVERS!!!
Whatever. Collisions double the risk of Marijuana.
The headline is, of course, statistically misleading. The actual change, if you read the study, is one from about .3% to about .5% – a whopping .2% change. The "ZOMG! TWICE AS MUCH!" amount is actually only 2/3rds as much as the risk of driving perfectly straight, sober, and not using a cell phone.
Enough states have had MMJ laws for long enough now, that we have some real accident data to look at. 4 of 7 states that have MMJ laws saw a statistically significant DECLINE in accident rates compared to states without MMJ laws. The other 3 saw no statistically significant change. This isn't because driving stoned is safer, it's because pot is displacing alcohol use. If you weigh the relative risks of various behaviors, cannabis use presents one of the smallest risks.
The drug war kills people. The drug itself does not. Cannabis is completely non-toxic; nobody has EVER OD'd on it, in the 6,000+ year history of it's use by humans. This, alone, is reason enough to end cannabis prohibition. Sure, smoking pot causes problems sometimes. But cannabis is a very mild drug, with mild effects, and very mild addictiveness. And did I mention, it's far less toxic than the non-toxic crayons we give our kids?
The misleading "ZOMG TWICE AS MUCH!!!1!" headlines are nothing but propaganda used to justify continued the violent prohibition that has killed or otherwise ruined millions of people's lives. Don't buy into the propaganda that causes almost infinitely more harm, via prohibition, that use of the drug itself does – and that includes the slightly increased risk of driver impairment.
Legalize it, regulate it, tax it if you feel it's necessary. But for God's sake, please stop attacking and incarcerating people for producing, distributing, or using such a mild, non-toxic drug.
This is complete BS. People drive slower on pot and faster on alcohol. I'll take my chances with a pothead over a drunk any time.
I think this survey is crap. Pot drivers are paranoid about everything and especially driving. They are more cautious, don't swerve in and out of lanes and drive the speed limit. Alcohol users lose all inhibitions, drive fast and are not cautious. Like was said before, I'll take my chances with a pot smoking driver over a drunk any day.
I drank and smoked daily for about 9 years.
– While drinking, I wrecked 3 cars, got in 4 fights, got knocked out for running my mouth to four guys, threw a beer can through a window, threw a rock through a patio door, and spent 2 months in jail.
– While smoking, I was a little shy at times and forgot things here and there. That's about it. Didn't really bother anyone else.
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This is precisely the reason why most truck accident lawyer los angeles will not stand in defense of a driver who was not only drunk driving but also stoned prior to hitting the road. This is just appalling!
The best way to cause a car accident is to be under the influence of drugs. I don't think it takes a genius to figure that out. Even the best drivers out there can be defeated by drugs if ever they're on the road. Come on, I've been one of the personal injury attorneys in los angeles over the past years, and most of the accidents we've handled are caused by drivers who were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
This is a bias report. You never once state how much alcohol impairs the person. Alcohol can make you up to 48 times more likely to get into a collision. I've heard much more about accidents with Alcohol than marijuana, and if you say more people drink than they consume marijuana then you're just ignorant.
This report is much more applied. Its ACTUAL statistics, not just hypothesis.
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