Published on March 8th, 20141
How dangerous is it to drive under the influence of cannabis?
Marijuana is legal in two states in the U.S. and other countries are preparing themselves to legalize cannabis, which is why U.S. authorities are considering how to react to drivers who consume marijuana behind.
To detect people driving under the influence of alcohol, police resort to a test consisting of three tasks: tracking a pen with your eyes while the officer moves it back and forth, get out of the car and walk nine steps, heel to toe, turn on one foot and go back; and stand on one leg for 30 seconds. This test detects 88 % of drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol.
However, a study published in the journal Psychopharmacology shows that this test detects only 30% of drivers who drive under the influence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. It seems that the ability of this test to detect individuals who smoked cannabis depends on how common it is for a person to consume this drug.
The researchers stress that the presence of THC in the blood is associated with a 2-fold higher risk of crashes. However, scientists points out that the presence of alcohol in the blood is associated with a risk is 20 times more likely to make an accident, which is why experts recommend the use of resources to detect people driving under the influence of alcohol.
Experts say the risk difference comes from the fact that drunk drivers tend to overestimate their abilities, while those who consumed marijuana tend to be more cautios. Specialists say that people should be persuaded to not mixing cannabis with alcohol and should not consume this drug away.
Police officers in Washington and Colorado, the two U.S. states where cannabis was legalized, have been trained to detect the influence of people who use marijuana, but a lawyer at Denver firm specializing in problems associated with marijuana states that there was an increase in cases where drivers have driven under the influence of this drug. “People realize that Colorado is under a microscope since it legalized marijuana, and it is our duty to be responsible”, said the attorney for Time magazine.