It is common knowledge that consuming alcohol leads to impaired operation of machines, especially motor vehicles. But when asking marijuana users if their abilities are diminished while under the effects of weed, controversy swells. This is rightly so.
A recent Columbia University study found that when analyzing previously collected data, marijuana users were twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as opposed to someone who is sober. For many people, this notion seems like common sense.
On the other hand though, many marijuana consumers feel they have a heightened awareness while under its influence, and they feel they are much better drivers because of this fact. Studies also exist that would agree with this mentality which were also included in the Columbia University research. So what is the right answer here?
A Collection of Studies
The research team led by Guohua Li, MD, DrPh, was tasked to collect several studies done previously regarding traffic accidents and wanted to surmise any conclusions based on marijuana use and its effects on driving, if any existed. They determined that any driver who had used marijuana within the past few hours was approximately twice as likely to be involved in a car accident.
As mentioned earlier though, one of the nine studies Columbia University used to make their evaluations showed that there was no correlation between being high and an increased risk of accident. In fact, that particular study found that accident rates were actually lower in marijuana users.
Dr. Li even wanted to make it clear that these findings showed only a correlation and not necessarily causality. Many possibilities exist regarding where the increased risk really comes from and marijuana users may tend to share this specific attribute. He wanted to stress the importance of further study to determine what the true root of the problem is, so it can be appropriately addressed.
Data Presented Isn’t Conclusive, Proceed At Your Own Risk
My personal belief is that for some people it may be helpful while for others it may be a detriment. It may create a heightened awareness in certain people that counteracts any potential delay in reaction while others, like me, may become much more lethargic and be unable to drive effectively.
On that note, every individual should decide for themselves what this information means to them. The investigation isn’t saying outright that marijuana will send you flying off a cliff, but it is showing there are potential dangers to consider. It’s up to the user to decide what risks are acceptable to them.
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