50% Of Weed Users Think They Can Drive Safely While High - International Highlife

50% Of Weed Users Think They Can Drive Safely While High

Nearly half of cannabis users believe driving while high is safe, as per a study by PSB Research and Buzzfeed News. People who don’t consume cannabis see it differently – only 14% believe someone high can drive safely.

The Impact of THC on Driving

THC affects attention and time/speed perception. We all know these are essential skills for driving a car. One meta-analysis of 60 studies found that cannabis use impairs safe driving across all measures, including motor coordination, visual function, and complex task completion.

The Compensatory Effect

A 2010 American Journal of Addiction analysis found that cannabis and alcohol impair driving-related skills, but marijuana users compensate effectively with behavioral strategies. While cognitive studies suggest unsafe driving, experimental studies show the opposite effect.

Real-World Impact and Tolerance Levels

The 2017 federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report to Congress reached similar conclusions. Volunteers took cannabis, alcohol, or both before using a driving simulator in one test. The researchers found that stoned drivers were more cautious, showing reduced speeds, increased time below the speed limit, and increased following distance in a car following task. However, they had difficulty maintaining position within a lane. Both studies note that the amount of THC consumed and the user’s tolerance levels influenced the results, with heavy smokers experiencing greater impairment. Users are often unaware of their THC consumption due to the difficulty of tracking THC amounts in each puff, particularly in regions where cannabis isn’t legalized.

Impact of Legalization

Due to these limitations, this research has limited applicability to the broader question of whether stoned drivers are more prone to causing accidents in real-world scenarios. The more pertinent question is whether states with legalized cannabis have experienced increased crashes and collisions. A 2017 study found no increase in fatal collisions in states where weed was legalized compared to control states where it remained criminalized. Following legalization, Colorado experienced a 12.5% increase in insurance claims on collisions, while Washington saw a 9.7% increase, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute. However, using the same methodology, they observed no increase in accidents in Oregon. The authors propose this may be due to legal cannabis use not continuing to rise in Oregon as in the other two states. Another study by the same organization found a 5.2% average increase in police-reported crashes in states where cannabis is legal compared to control states.

So, it seems that further research is needed. While most studies indicate that drinking is more dangerous than smoking regarding driving ability, a correlation exists between increased cannabis use and car crashes.

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