People take driving under the influence of alcohol as a serious problem. But driving while having done marijuana? Not so much. A poll by Gallup found that 70% of people didn’t think that driving after taking cannabis was a big issue.
While more people are becoming responsible about not driving while drunk, several need to get the message regarding not driving after consuming cannabis.
How Cannabis Affects Driving
Cannabis contains over a hundred cannabinoids. One of these is tetrahydrocannabinol. This compound has psychoactive properties which means it can induce euphoria. Furthermore, cannabis impairs motor, coordination, and balance skills.
It negatively affects the perception of speed and time. As a result, drivers under the influence of cannabis drive slower and have slower reaction times. This is the opposite of the effect that alcohol has – drunk drivers drive faster and closer to other cars. Unfortunately, a study found that 1 in 5 teen drivers drove after intaking weed.
Why You Should Not Drive After Doing Weed
The reason behind why you shouldn’t drive after smoking pot is obvious – doing so puts the lives of those in the car at risk of an accident. In fact, driving under the influence of weed is not only dangerous for the driver and those in his car. It is also dangerous for others on the road.
Need another reason to stop driving after taking in cannabis? It’s illegal. While state laws regarding the status of cannabis for medical and recreational use are changing, it is still not allowed to drive after doing weed.
When You Can Drive After Cannabis Use
There are several factors that impact the high that you get from cannabis. These include the strain of cannabis, the mode of delivery, etc. Depending on the delivery mode, it may be safer to drive immediately or some time after the affects of weed wear off.
For instance, smoking pot has an almost instant effect so does transdermal use. Therefore, you cannot drive after taking weed through these two and other more bioavailable routes. On the other hand, cannabis capsules and edibles such as gummies take longer to show effects and their effects last longer as well. In these cases, you may be able to drive well within 15 minutes of consumption, but not after two hours.
At the end of the day though, regardless of how you take your cannabis you shouldn’t drive after consuming it. A McGill University study found that driving after cannabis was risky even after five hours of use.
What To Do Instead
If you are under the influence of weed, drive after the effects have completely washed away. If you have done weed, hand the keys over to someone else or stay where you are. If you are a passenger in the car of someone who has smoked pot, advice the driver against driving under influence. Being responsible is your job regardless of whether you take cannabis for medical or recreational reasons.