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What can happen if I use marijuana before driving?

With the landmark decision to legalize marijuana throughout Colorado, you may be one of those people who use the drug for recreational or medical purposes. However, you may not have thought much about what can happen if you drive after consuming the cannabis. As explained by the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, the risks associated with marijuana and driving can be pretty severe.

While there is some debate on the effect marijuana has on your driving ability, some studies have shown a link between marijuana and impaired driving. For example, when accident fault was compared between non-using drivers and drivers whose blood showed the presence of THC, there was a culpability level on the part of the THC drivers that ranged from three to seven times higher.

The same studies found that in fatal accidents, the chance that a driver was responsible, was two times higher when the driver’s bloodstream contained THC.  Additionally, it is well known that using the drug can have an impact on your motor control and response time. You may also be unable to accurately judge the facts of a driving situation, which could lead you to make the wrong judgment call. Concentration is also a problem that has been associated with use of cannabis.  

Despite these results, other studies have painted a different picture. For instance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that the use of marijuana by drivers did not result in a “significant increased crash risk.” However, it is unknown whether the agency considered the fact that many cannabis users also drink alcohol, which could cause further impairment. Regardless of such studies, driving under the influence of any substance can put you at a higher risk of getting into an accident and seriously injuring someone. Using caution is always the best choice. This information is not to be taken as legal advice.




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