More than half of American medical marijuana users are at the top – and they often do so, reveals a new survey.
There are over 2.1 million legal medical marijuana patients registered in the United States, as of May 2018.
Medical marijuana has brought a welcome alternative relief for patients with chronic pain, nausea, anxiety, insomnia and more conditions.
But the forms that include the psychoactive ingredient, THC, have a "side effect": the high, which can slow down reaction times and decision making for drivers.
New research from the University of Michigan shows how commonly the risk is taken, and emphasizes the need for regulation to make sure medical marijuana is safe for its users and others with whom they share the road.
More than half of medical marijuana patients drive after using the drug and have felt "a little bit" or "very" high while driving, reveals a new study by the University of Michigan
"No one has ever asked this to anyone," the psychologist, psychiatrist and author of the main study Dr Erin Bonar told Daily Mail Online, referring to the fact that they ask for medical marijuana users about their driving habits.
"So we did not know what to expect and we're so grateful that people are honest, because it's not really something people want to easily admit."
She and her team interviewed 790 patients with medical marijuana in Michigan (where there are almost 270,000 total users) about their patterns of driving and cannabis use.
They asked if they had driven under the influence of marijuana – which they defined as within two hours of use – and how often in the last six months.
Over 50% of respondents said they did it at least once in the last six months.
One in five admitted to having been "very tall" while driving during that period of time.
More than half of the participants stopped driving "a little" top & # 39 ;.
This comes to the crux of the problem of establishing limits on marijuana use and driving. A "high" for a person could result from a much smaller amount of marijuana or from a less powerful type than from another.
And the feeling of being tall has not been well quantified.
However, some of its problematic driving effects are quite well proven.
The consumption of marijuana is known to slow down reflection times, delay decision-making, stop the attention span and compromise short-term memory.
"It is worrying that we may have many people who might be on the way that could have many things that affect their driving" in addition to marijuana, such as distracted driving, weather and other factors, says Dr. Bonar.
"But we do not yet have a gold standard for you, we help people measure their use and determine the damage."
The forces of the order and the researchers are working to develop both the ethanometer and the behavioral tests for the marijuana compromise, but neither of the two screening systems is fully developed.
But in the absence of these tests, the state in which marijuana is legal for recreational use, such as Colorado, has seen an increase in incidents involving the substance.
And soon it will also be legal from a recreational point of view also in Michigan.
"I'm already a rather nervous driver, so what worries me is that this is one of the many variables that can affect people who are already distracted or who may be facing adverse weather conditions," says dr. Bonar.
"So we need to get more awareness of this already critical gap, because we do not have guidelines to determine how much someone is altered. & # 39;
Because marijuana is not legal federal, there are also no FDA guidelines on dosage or warning labels on vehicles operating during use.
"Medical marijuana patients are not the number one public enemy, they are coming out there saying" I want to be risky! ", Observes Dr. Bonar.
They want to alleviate their symptoms and live life and have no side effects [from marijuana] but this is a way he does it ".