“Don’t drink and drive”, is this, not the catch phrase we are familiar with? Well, there is a new twist according to a controversial study.
Those driving after smoking a joint are less likely to crash than those who have had a drink, so does the study says. This is contrary to what the law says and what common sense implies as well, it was found that after taking marijuana, there was no statistically significant change in the risk of a crash. Interesting innit?
Alcohol, by comparison, increases the crash risk exponentially.
Researchers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration looked at the effect of legal and illegal drugs including stimulants and depressants to see what effect they had.
It concluded that for marijuana, there was no statistically significant change in the risk of a crash if the drug was taken before driving.
Alcohol, on the other hand, and measured at a blood alcohol concentration threshold of 0.05 or above, increases the crash risk nearly sevenfold.
The NHTSA qualified their findings by saying that what it shows is that the measurable presence of THC – the primary active ingredient in cannabis – doesn’t correlate with impairment in the same way as alcohol.
‘At the current time, specific drug concentration levels cannot be reliably equated with a specific degree of driver impairment,’ the study said.
‘Most psychoactive drugs are chemically complex molecules, whose absorption, action and elimination from the body are difficult to predict, and considerable differences exist between individuals with regard to the rates with which these processes occur.
‘Alcohol, in comparison, is more predictable.’
Several US states have passed laws attempting to define the level of marijuana needed to ‘impair driving’.