A significant number of medical marijuana users has concerning behavior. Findings of a new study have revealed more than half of these people drive while high.
More Than Half Of Medical Marijuana Users Drive Within Two Hours Of Using Cannabis
In a study published in the journal Drug & Alcohol Dependence on Jan. 9, Erin Bonar, from the University of Michigan Addiction Center, and colleagues conducted a poll among people who take medical marijuana for chronic pain.
More than half of these people claimed they have driven under the influence of the drug within two hours of using it in the last six month.
In the survey involving 790 medical cannabis users in Michigan, 51 percent said they have driven while "a little high" and 21 percent said they have driven while "very high."
Risks Of Driving Under The Influence Of Marijuana
The researchers warned about the risks of this behavior. Bonar said that when people are under the influence of cannabis, their reaction time and coordination may slow down, causing them to have a harder time reacting to unexpected events.
Given their inability to respond quickly, they could be at risk of a vehicle crash in situations such as when an animal suddenly jumps into the road or a distracted driver swerves into their lane.
Bonar added there is uncertainty about how cannabis use could affect the driving of chronic daily users, whose marijuana use may have longer-lasting effects in their system.
When To Drive After Using Marijuana
The researchers said driving is best avoided on the day of cannabis use. For those who need to drive, they should at least wait several hours before getting behind the wheel.
"There is a low perceived risk about driving after using marijuana, but we want people to know that they should ideally wait several hours to operate a vehicle after using cannabis, regardless of whether it is for medical use or not," Bonar said. "The safest strategy is to not drive at all on the day you used marijuana."