Cannabis

Numerous studies have been undertaken to examine the effects of cannabis on driving. One large meta-analysis of more than 150 studies showed that cannabis impairs the skills important for driving, including tracking, psychomotor skills, reaction time, and performance, with the effects most marked in the first 2 h after smoking and with attention, tracking, and psychomotor skills being affected the most (68). The study also showed that impairment is most marked in the absorption phase as opposed to the elimination phase and that frequent cannabis users become less impaired than infrequent users. These are, for the most part, older studies, done during the 1970s. Impairment is dosage dependent, and externally observable symptoms (e.g., impairment of psychomotor skills or the impression of absent-mindedness), disappear quickly during the early elimination phase. More recent studies (69) conducted with volunteer marijuana smokers who were actually driving found that the main effect of marijuana was to increase lateral movement of the vehicle moderately within the driving lane on a highway (70,71). A UK study (72) offered further support for the view that when under the influence of cannabis, users are acutely aware of their impairment but attempted to compensate for their impairment by driving more cautiously.

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