Renaissance Ranch

Driving and Marijuana Smoking

Mar 15, 2016

A "no marijuana" road sign against a blue sky.There has been in a trend, recently, of relaxation on what specifically is dangerous about marijuana abuse. While there are many national conversations that need to be had, one such side effect of this changing ideology is the idea that marijuana is not necessarily much of a driving impairment. This idea probably stems from the claim that marijuana is even less dangerous than alcohol. Now, that’s not a subject we are going to broach, today, but it’s important to note that driving under the influence of any substance is incredibly dangerous. Here’s some information about driving under the influence of marijuana…

Marijuana impairs skills necessary for driving

The main thing to get out of the way here is that marijuana does have an effect on the way we think and physically maneuver. Due to the fact that marijuana is a heavy relaxant, it causes severe decreases in hand-eye-coordination, reflexes for reaction, and can have a great effect on our better judgement. All of these things are incredibly important for operating a fast, heavy vehicle like a car. To put it simply, the risk of getting into a car accident nearly doubles when you are under the influence of marijuana. Those odds are absurd for anyone to consider driving while they are under the influence. However, most people are highly uneducated on the effects that marijuana is having on their bodies.

Hard to test THC levels

It is rather difficult for authorities to immediately detect whether someone is driving under the influence of marijuana, as opposed to alcohol. Marijuana is able to show up in blood tests for days, and even weeks after use, but that isn’t necessarily an indication of driving under the influence. In the meantime, THC levels are able to be recorded through breath, but these levels drop rapidly immediately after inhalation, which makes it nearly impossible to tell whether someone is actually high from quick tests. In order to reduce the amount of people driving under the influence, officers simply must use their best judgement to decide whether or not someone is using while they have been driving. However, you can’t actually prosecute on these terms, since the evidence is hard to gather.

Mixing with alcohol exponentially increases the danger

While we won’t weigh in on the argument of whether or not it is fair for alcohol to be illegal, while marijuana isn’t. We will say that both substances have the potential to be abused in ways that hurts communities. And as far as driving goes, being under the influence of alcohol and marijuana behind the wheel of a car has been shown to be incredibly dangerous, and a risk to the lives of everyone on the road around you.