Notice that I'm focusing on whether or not they are impaired, as opposed to the amount in their bloodstream. The point being that people that use cannabis regularly for medical reasons don't seem to be impaired by it at all, while newer or more occasional users are certainly impaired.
It would be fascinating to see what kind of technologies could be used to achieve this that folks on HN are aware of.
I'm not sure if that would work in practice. As mentioned, alcohol makes someone more confident, or more likely to do stupid things. The test should incorporate that.
From another point of view, the alcohol tricks you into thinking your reflexes are still normal, while they are not. And this is the dangerous part, not the fact that your reflexes are somewhat lower (and perhaps comparable to an old lady who is still perfectly capable to drive safely).
Reminds me of the "say the alphabet backwards" challenge that cops often present in sobriety tests.
Drunk: ZYX... ZYXW... wait-wait... okay, ZYXTW, ummm...
Sober: I can't do that.
Stoned: Oh whaaat? No way, man. I can't even do that sober - shit, I mean...
The field sobriety and breathalyzer tests are just excuses to get suspected DWIs into the drunk tank nowadays.
Once there they'll draw blood for drug and blood-alcohol testing. That's the test that will be used in court if it gets that far.
>I'm also quite sure that you could train for soberty tests
Not a doctor but I don't know that you could fake out a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_sobriety_testing
I wonder how a cop would react if you started singing the alphabet backwards.
In fact I think it's mostly not a test they use, or if it is it's to see how the person handles it, not that they can actually do it.
Because refusing to obey a police officer who's considering arresting you is such a sober decision.
I honestly think the best solution would be to regulate the current traffic laws better - including things such as speed limits, yeilding to pedestrians, keeping distance ahead of you (don't know if that is a law) and other things. Not only is this going to help catch people too impaired to be driving, but folks that are simply not paying attention to the road and trying to multi-task while driving.
Full disclosure: I have been pulled over and arrested for "driving while ability impaired" (essentially the non-alcohol DUI)
When I was going to school in upstate NY, I was pulled over as I drove my friend home. The cop thought we smelled like weed (fair enough, my friend had some on him, I was sober and not holding). So he pulls me out of the car and makes me do a "field sobriety test" which consisted of the following (no joke):
-Standing on one leg for 10 seconds
-Walking in a straight line in the dark while he flashed a light at you like a strobe
-Having to close your eyes and then open them when you "thought" 30 seconds had passed
-Having to recite as much as the alphabet backwards as you can
I'm not a coordinated person in general but I had never been pulled over or issued a traffic ticket before. But they then use this circus act as the basis to say "Hey, time for a blood test because you might be high" and then they take you to a hospital. You can refuse the blood test but you get your license suspended for like a month immediately and I needed to drive to work and school. I hadn't smoked in a bit so I thought I'd be good for the blood test and that I'd be fine in court. Of course, it's fallacious to use the blood sample because it can have trace THC from days ago. So you, like I did, can get slapped with a charge based on the fact that you smoked last weekend and then - how dare you - decided to drive days after the fact.
I had to go to court and then was found guilty based on this erroneous evidence. I had to go to "addiction counseling" where the psych told me I exhibited absolutely no addictive symptoms yet I still had to attend. I got one of my scholarships revoked simply based on the charges against me. I had to pay fines and then sign statements at the end of my "counseling" that I would refrain from drug use and be a productive member of society (it actually was worded like that).
I'm not really sure what the solution is. It will be interesting to see what the accident rates / fatalities from stoned drivers are in the coming years. All I know is the current system is a farce and only used to drive revenue to the state.
"Keep your head straight, follow the pen with your eyes as I move it left and right".
"Based on your eyes twitching when you got to the edge of the field of vision, I would like to breathalyze you".
Oh, look. 0.0. Perhaps my eye response was due to the fact that I was standing near your patrol car, and as I looked that way, my eyes had to adjust from 2am darkness to high intensity, strobing lights.
Unable to book me for DUI, he ticketed me for disobeying a traffic signal (which I later contested and won).
Still had the gall to tell me "You got off lucky tonight".
So legal weed is driving us all to be pot heads, right? I mean, look at us: kindly middle age couple who are nice to animals and pay their taxes, and now they're smoking that whacky weed on the weekends! Meh, we're not the ones you needed to worry about in the first place. If it ain't weed, we'd be in Woodinville on Sunday doing wine tastings and driving home after (well, we wouldn't, but I see it every weekend). Our community is much better off if instead my wife and I sit home on a Saturday night smoking a bowl and playing video games.
Are we representative? I have absolutely no idea. But surely we're not the only two people in the entire state of WA who said, after the retail stores opened, "ya know, haven't bought a 1/4 ounce in decades, but I used smoke weed back in the day and I kind of enjoyed it. Now that it's legal, think I'll swing by that new store on the way home tomorrow."
Based on my observations at one Washington state dispensary, at least half of the customers are in their 60's or 70's. I asked the woman behind the counter about it and she told me that many of them are seeking relief from chronic pain and/or cancer treatments.
* Pharma (because of the amazing and un-patentable medical applications of it)
* Private Criminal Justice and Police Unions (Marijuana is one of the easiest things to make an arrest on--private prisons profit, probation companies profit, inmate phone services, phone providers, ankle bracelet companies, police equipment companies, etc. all profit. For Police Unions, marijuana-related crimes accounting for a sizable percentage of police stops and arrests, legal weed means less jobs and potentially lower pay. Additionally, Marijuana is easy to identify from a distance due to smell, and gives an officer probable cause to make a stop and search for other illegal activity)
* Paper/Textiles (Hemp!)
* Alcohol (Legal weed potentially means a loss of sales for the only major legal intoxicant.)
* Tobacco (Legal weed means something for people to smoke that isn't a cigarette.)
Some of these industries are shifting. Big Tobacco, for example, seems to be trying to join the party, and has made some moves that indicate a desire to enter the industry. I think Paper and Textiles either will come around or already are, as I think Hemp could be easily incorporated into the existing industry.
But yeah, I believe that Big Pharma is as big of a part of this as police unions and Big Criminal Justice.
Though it could very well be an attempt to avoid becoming California, where the doctor next door to the dispensary will write you one up if you complain about your chronic hangnails.
Also have some friends in Denver who started back up after it became legal.
Just some more anecdotal 'evidence' to go off of.
Stop smoking weed? That doesn't sound at all worth the trouble.
If anything, my experience with the state and it's drug prohibition, has made me want to smoke even more weed. Fuck the hick country cops who made me recite the alphabet backwards. Fuck the school admin who revoked my scholarship. I make six figures and travel the world for my job and for my pleasure and I smoke as much weed as I want.
If I may get personal for a second, weed is the only thing that has helped with my depression and schizophrenia. I had several depressive episodes in my life, from when I was young to my late teens and spent time in a mental facility. However, since I've started smoking habitually I have not had a single episode and feel hundreds of times better than I ever have.
Was it worth all the trouble? Honestly, yes. I learned about what matters in my life and I learned to take responsibility for my choices, which means yes, I am going to keep smoking weed for as long as I want because I'd rather stay out of my depression and focused on living the best, most meaningful life I can despite whatever bylaws are forced on me.
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that OP has "just been lucky". There is also no evidence to suggest that OP is a threat to him/herself or anyone else; they simply noted that they had previously been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Also, Bupropion is an anti-depressant, not an anti-psychotic. And Xanax is a strong Benzodiazepine and also not in any way an antipsychotic. So the conditions that OP was treating were basically depression and anxiety, which scientific evidence shows Cannabis has positive impact on both.
Now, this should provide all of the evidence needed to contradict your ridiculousness, but, in case it doesn't, YES, certain constituent compounds of Cannabis DO INDEED treat schizophrenia (and, again, your insinuation that anyone claimed it /did/ treat schizophrenia is a bit illogical for reasons above). See here for more info: https://www.projectcbd.org/schizophrenia
CBD is a potent anti-psychotic and antianxiety/anticonvulsant. Granted, it's present in small relative amounts to THC in most strains, but CBD supplements are available in all of the Medical states. I take them almost daily for anxiety and anti-inflammatory reasons.
About 10 years ago, as an adult never having tried any illicit substances, I started using cannabis and found marked improvement in my mood and focus. Since then, smoking weed every few days, I have had zero "episodes", I am happy most of the time, am in a stable long-term relationship with a new child and am generally a productive member of society.
I have tried to research scientific studies that explain these results but have always found the corpus lacking. I think these interactions definitely deserve more exploration.
This is true of drunk driving too. I don't think that means we just shouldn't try to impose any restrictions...
If we don't have the science, technology, nor a fair way to test, I'm not sure how making pot-specific laws is going to help do anything other than make people feel like something has been done.
At least with better controls and better general laws, it makes everyone safer. People that can't drive accordingly, regardless of any drug, probably shouldn't be driving at all.
I think the article is pretty misleading but the conclusion is clear: "There's plenty of evidence showing that marijuana use impairs key driving skills. If you get really stoned and then get behind the wheel, you're asking for trouble.".
The problem is that the legal thresholds for THC are so low that "stone drivers" are not actually stone, making the whole federal study flawed.
Here: "Several states have passed laws attempting to define "marijuana-impaired driving" similarly to drunk driving. Colorado, for instance, sets a blood THC threshold of 5 nanograms per milliliter. But that number tells us next to nothing about whether a person is impaired or fit to drive. "
If you look at the data, "any illegal drug" is also not correlated with more accidents.
While the conclusion is clear, it's also misleading. No one disputes that you can get too stoned to drive, that isn't the issue that matters. What matters is whether those too stoned to drive drive anyway like they do on alcohol. Anecdotally from decades of experience I can say they don't, pot doesn't destroy your ability to judge your state of mind so there's no reason to treat it with special exceptions like we do for alcohol. Most long term smokers drive while high, but not while impaired. High != impaired just as drinking one beer doesn't destroy your ability to drive safely.
It really doesn't matter the age, ability, or whatever - as long as a person CAN reach the minimum requirements to drive on the road, they should be allowed to chose to do so. I don't see a need to discriminate by any means other than performance.
Or do you mean the quick and dirty 'field sobriety tests' that many police offers use? I'm not aware of those being actual standards or tests so much as quick and dirty tools to justify the effort of /actual/ standards tests (BTW, I recall hearing that you should always demand the blood test over the breath tests).
I think there might be some debate over variance of correlation among different ethnicity and experience level of particular users, but I cannot recall any actual disagreement about the current legal BAC limits being close enough for the general population.
However that is the point being made by the parent article; that while presence of alcohol in someone's blood does have that strong scientific correlation there is as yet no strong scientific correlation for any of the legal limits currently in place.
We simply don't need that; this presume driving while high is a problem that needs solving and it quite simply isn't. There's no evidence to justify treating pot special like we do alcohol and specifically testing for it.
As a followup question, what would be the point of making that distinction?
People with better reflexes might drive less conservatively due to their reflexes, and may continue to do so even while impaired.
The problem is that it's way too invasive for people to sign up for it voluntarily - not to mention you'd cause a bunch of sudden stops for no reason and maybe create more accidents than you prevent.
Wow. So you're also a big supporter of the massive, real-time surveillance infrastructure required to make this possible, then.
Don't think for a minute that those devices (which will inevitably be required in all human-driven cars... for as long as humans are allowed to drive cars, that is)
won't be reporting those findings to insurance companies and of course, to one's friendly local police department -- and by extension, all police departments nationwide -- once in place.
I worry that people read studies like this and suddenly justify going out and driving while impaired. Driving is an incredibly dangerous activity on its own. Doing it when you're stoned is a stupid and risky move, and comparing it to how much more dangerous drunk driving is doesn't make it less stupid.
If you've never smoked pot, you don't understand how it feels and affects your thinking/reactions/perception of time and reality. If you smoke pot everyday, it may affect you less due to tolerance, but it's still affecting you, much like a functional alcoholic.
I have nothing against usage and I strongly encourage legalization, but I don't think it's okay to pretend that it's safe to get high and go driving.
I think it's safe to assume you drive very often with things that affect your driving. If pot is proven to not affect your driving to a measurable degree, then the only thing that is different between that and random over the counter medication is one is called pot.
If my only experience with the drug were the first couple of times in college where we were taking bong hits, then yeah, I can see why people would be shocked that you could drive in that state. It took a me a couple of years before I discovered that most of the folks (especially the folks in their 50s - 60s I hang out with) really are just getting a little bit at a time.
It's possible (and I think for many long-term users, more normal) to have only enough to modify your mood and outlook on events without becoming glued-to-the-couch high.
Pro tip: there is also a difference between having a beer with dinner and chugging vodka shots all night long. :D
True, which points to the fact that it would be useful to have a well-understood BAC-like scale for marijuana usage, especially as the drug becomes more and more legal to use.
Clearly there's a difference between having one beer and driving an hour later compared to getting behind the wheel while nearly passed-out drunk. Lots of people have a decent approximate sense of what 0.08 BAC is when it comes to alcohol consumption, but everyone who is "high" is just "high" without some sort of well-defined scale.
That'd be tough. BAC is a meaningful metric because alcohol crosses the blood-brain barrier very easily. So, the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream is a very good predictor of the amount of alcohol acting on the brain.
THC, on the other hand, does not cross the blood-brain barrier so readily. So the problem isn't that we can't measure the amount of THC in the blood; it's that it doesn't actually tell us anything meaningful.
> Lots of people have a decent approximate sense of what 0.08 BAC is when it comes to alcohol consumption, but everyone who is "high" is just "high" without some sort of well-defined scale.
I actually don't think it's true that most people have an approximate sense of what .08 is. I think that most people believe they do, but most people actually have a very flawed misunderstanding of what .08 means (and doesn't mean).
You can test this out yourself! If you want to be the life of the party, buy a portable breathalyzer for about $100. When you go out, ask your friends to guess what their own BAC is (and what their friends' BAC are, based on how drunk they're acting). I bet you you'll find really large disparities between the numbers. People just aren't very good at gauging how drunk they are (or how drunk their friends are). Or, alternatively, BAC just isn't a very good measure of impairment - you can interpret this either way.
they're entirely, exponentially, infinitely different.
If I drank a six pack of beer right now I'd probably pass out, while some of the people I work with would still be able to drive quite well.
Something roughly equivalent applies to marijuana.
even if you didn't, your motor control wouldn't be nearly as impaired, nor would your mental faculty.
your judgement also wouldn't be as impaired as having a 6 pack of beer with no tolerance, making it even less likely you get behind the wheel while too intoxicated.
I'd call that a "false" equivalence, not a rough one.
I'll be honest...
What I meant to say was, talking from experience: when I smoke six bongs of straight or strong mix, there's no way I should drive a car. Mostly because I'm too busy laughing or sleeping.
Whereas last time I drank half a bottle of spirits I woke in a strange bed and could see my car out the window and had no recollection of how it got there.
Alcohol is one hell of a drug.
> Differences in study designs frequently account for inconsistencies in results between studies. Participant-selection bias and confounding factors attenuate ostensible cannabis effects, but the association with MVA often retains significance. Evidence suggests recent smoking and/or blood THC concentrations 2-5 ng/mL are associated with substantial driving impairment, particularly in occasional smokers. Future cannabis-and-driving research should emphasize challenging tasks, such as divided attention, and include occasional and chronic daily cannabis smokers.
Suggesting that taking a couple Tylenol is as dangerous as smoking anything (even tobacco for occasional users) before/while driving is ridiculous.
Here is a thought experiment. You are a passenger in a car, chained to the seat. Would you rather the driver drink shots of ethanol, smoke marijuana cigarettes, swallow antihistamine pills, or log in to Twitter/Facebook via mobile phone? Assume that you wish to minimize both risk of death and the severity of nonfatal injuries.
I assume you mean any medication which may impair you.
There are lot's of medications which people should take before driving, like anti-seizure, antipsychotics, heart control, blood sugar control, and so on.
It will typically tell you on the label if it is safe to take and operate heavy machinery. Although I'd always suggest taking it the first time while not doing so regardless, just in case of an unexpected side effect or adverse reaction.
anxiety, depression, etc...
there's some overlap here, some people use cannabis to prevent/control seizures, to treat anxiety or depression, and don't feel side effects.
The experience of the common person who has tried cannabis once or twice and turned away isn't necessarily anything like the experience of someone who benefits from it.
You wouldn't say that a person with ADHD shouldn't drive on ADHD meds, but for anyone else, that would be effectively like driving on cocaine.
Some people should, in fact, not be driving while not under the influence of cannabis or another treatment for conditions that could make them unsafe drivers.
If you drive frequently, maybe cannabis isn't a good idea for you to take to manage your anxiety, depression, or seizure control. If there's not a drug out there that helps you that does not make you a danger to others, then tough shit, you shouldn't be driving.
Driving is not a right, driving is not something everyone should be able to do. I think I would be a sub par driver, and so I don't drive. I pay more money to live in the city close to public transit. I don't say "it will probably be ok" and endanger other drivers, and this would be especially true if I actually needed pot to function.
While it is true that driving is not a right, this is an extremely narrow view. Especially in small municipalities (0-80000 people) transit is often poor and/or nonexistent, and downtown/commercial areas rarely have residences built or even nearby. Everyone relies on driving. In fact, the highschool I'm from offered free drivers ed, as a part of highschool.
Everyone has to drive and few people are sub-par drivers.
People drive impaired [alcohol, painkillers, anger, phones, passengers, weather, radio, stressors] all the time. That's not the point. The point is how much do we allow people to drive impaired. In the case of BAC, 0.05-0.08 is a common tolerance. This is not "zero," as people seem to think. Yep. You can have a beer (or two) and still be well within legal limits.
I'm not a libertarian by any means but we have very strict penalties already for people who kill others in vehicle accidents. I want to see INFORMED legislation not "i'm too scared to drive so nobody should ever do it unless they are of a perfectly clear mind and the road conditions are perfect."
Not everyone has the luxury of ordering an uber or hopping on a train for a few minutes to get home.
I think that many people are sub-par drivers, and that's why you see the horrible rates of accidents that you do today.
The point is not penalizing the behavior after it's happened, it's deterring it before it does. Informed legislation already has a situation like this -- we don't care if alcoholics have a blood alcohol of .09 and can obviously function, if they're above that level of impairment, then they are arrested for driving under the influence. It's better to be too restrictive than to lenient when it comes to potential manslaughter.
Sorry—desire? Some people may chose to live in small municipalities, some don't chose. Some are forced to by their way of life (e.g. consider the people who grow your food).
I don't live in a small municipality. I'm merely pointing out the fact that your way of life is merely one way of living and is totally ignorant of the reality of many other people's experiences.
Coincidentally they don't smoke pot and drive, because they're not inconsiderate, life endangering assholes.
My point still stands, that if you choose to take treatment that impairs your ability to drive, then you shouldn't drive. If driving is important to you, you should choose other treatment if you can. If you can't, then you shouldn't drive.
> Coincidentally they don't smoke pot and drive, because they're not inconsiderate, life endangering assholes.
Then there's a good chance that they consume liquor and get behind the wheel instead. I know a lot of farmers, and this is a pretty universal truism.
Nobody is forcing anyone to do anything but people generally don't feel compelled to uproot their lives/livelihood because someone far away is trying to tell them what's good for them. Because especially in farm communities, drinking and driving is most likely to cause endangerment to yourself, not others. Not much to hit on grid roads.
I thought it was pretty interesting actually, the big chart in the linked article suggests that stimulants actually lower the likelihood of an accident compared to a baseline.
Same with nausea suppression pills for travel. I was once made to drive after taking one.
I'd venture to say that the lower likelyhood of an accident while on cocaine would come from most people that not pay any goddamn attention to anything, frantically scanning everything: the road, traffic, road shoulder, pedestrains, etc, etc
Source: I've been taking methamphetamine (prescribed) for ADHD for quite some time. I experienced a little euphoria the first week when I initially started treatment on amphetamines but it was nothing even close to what I would consider impairment.
- When you're tired, you can have a cup of coffee and wake up a bit and regain some of that focus. You can't drink a red bull and suddenly be way less high.
- If you send a text or two while driving, you're not paying attention to the road for a few moments (which is admittedly still crazy dangerous). If you drive stoned - you're driving less safely the entire time you're driving. The combination of the two is even worse.
- Having a heart condition doesn't mean you're going to necessarily have a heart attack every time you drive - there's just a higher risk that something might happen. Even in that case, you may be able to stop/pull over. Once again, if you drive stoned - you're driving less safely the entire time you're driving.
- You can have a backup pair of glasses, you can pull over, etc.
But my main point - just because there are other things that can make the already insanely dangerous activity of driving more risky, doesn't make driving high less bad.
Actually, there are terpenes in cannabis that mitigate many of the confusing effects, which can be found in foods such as black peppercorns and pine nuts. Pliny the Elder wrote about this; see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/
So yes, there are ways to get "less high."
Not advocating that driving while high/texting/tired is a good idea, just trying to enlighten about some of the fascinating science behind Cannabis.
The question becomes what's Stoned? Detectable is not a reasonable limit nor is can't stand up.
Unfortunately, even 0.04 can get you arrested in California.
The BAC limit is simply when the DMV automatically pulls your license. You can be convicted of DWI/DUI at any BAC in California.
Now, you aren't likely to get pulled over at BAC less than 0.05, but if you do get pulled over, you can still get convicted for it.
I think an actual blood test is the only thing we got for MJ. That's invasive, and not likely something officers will be able to do at a traffic stop.
Not sure how you come to that conclusion. I think it's reasonable to assume it's legal because most people (including me) feel it's fine. I'm much more concerned about distracted driving generally.
Something to remember is people generally drink late in the day. So, the accident statistics mix drinking and tired data. Tired driving makes things far worse, but it's hard to test for as accidents and being pulled over both tend to wake people up. Pot on the other hand is more often a daytime drug which is going to mess with the statistics.
"And after adjusting for age, gender, race and alcohol use, drivers who tested positive for marijuana were no more likely to crash than who had not used any drugs or alcohol prior to driving."
Edit: Just in case in the future anyone comes across my comment out of context of this thread, I'd like to add that without seeing further research I'm not personally convinced by that statement.
The study linked in the article confirms that yes, according to the evidence seen, marijuana significantly impairs driving ability, especially among casual users (to the surprise of no one whose actually used it I'm sure).
And after adjusting for age, gender, race and alcohol use, drivers who tested positive for marijuana were no more likely to crash than who had not used any drugs or alcohol prior to driving.
Have you taken Dramamine (the regular drowsy version)? If I take 1 pill I can sort of keep awake but I wouldn't try to drive unless it was an emergency. Taking 2 pills makes me so drowsy that I would not drive safely by any chance.
Those are the recommended dosages by the way, so no need to consume the whole bottle or box of that like with cough syrup. And that's just one of the myriad of different things you can get over the counter that can easily impair your driving.
So yes, I think the analogy is right to a degree (like all analogies). Even though marijuana does definitely change the way you perceive things and thus driving might not be something recommended to do, the GP's point is that a lot of people already drive under the influence of a lot of other substances, some of them potentially much more dangerous than marijuana.
Obviously part of the problem is that different people will react differently to marijuana, so like stated elsewhere in the thread, a regular user (like a functional alcoholic) might be able to drive "ok" and have no accidents but someone that is trying it for the first time, getting a particularly potent batch and then trying to drive is going to increase the chances of an accident greatly.
That doesn't mean I condone being fucked up (with whatever) and driving, but the GP has a point in that we are already living in a world where people are driving and doing other dangerous things while under the influence of "stuff". That also explains partly why driving is so dangerous and why so many people die each year from a driving-related incident.
Edit: So maybe we shouldn't be single-ing out marijuana as "the" bad stuff that causes accidents while behind the wheel and take a more "big-picture" kind of view. One of the reasons why self-driving cars are a good idea.
No way would I drive after that.
I do find it a bit unfair to compare daily smokers to functional alcoholics, however - there is a definite difference in the way the drugs affect folks. This was the main point of the article. A slight buzz like that of a daily smoker - or someone using for medical reasons - isn't affecting safety, but going more than that and it should be obvious. Be safe and all that.
Besides. Part of the issue is that public transportation lacking in a lot of parts of the country. Some folks just don't have options, even things like Uber, and if you live just slightly out of the way, such things wind up costing even more money. If you are drunk, you can get arrested in some places (indiana) for walking home - instant public intoxication charge. Still more places don't have safe options to walk or ride bikes if you are impared. These things need fixed to be able to do what you are encouraging.
If a breathalyzer test on Tuesday picked up the beer you had last Saturday, there'd be no correlation between that test and accidents, either. (and no one would approve of using such a test for law enforcement).
For alcohol, a comparable test might look at long-term changes in liver biochemistry associated with alcohol consumption. In that case, there probably wouldn't be any correlation with accident rates.
The problem is that there is not a well established mapping between THC levels and impairment. It isn't even clear if such a mapping can be done.
Not sure that's true: if the alcohol was still in your blood that long, it would still be affecting you and impairing function.
Lack of transportation, other options or the public intoxication charges should not and cannot ever be an acceptable reason for driving while impaired.
If you indulge, don't drive. Period.
There is no option B. The only acceptable solution, if you have to get behind a wheel and drive, is to abstain from any impairing consumption.
If you're so drunk that you'd get pulled over as a pedestrian, then you most certainly should not be driving.
>Still more places don't have safe options to walk or ride bikes if you are impared. These things need fixed to be able to do what you are encouraging.
How about some personal responsibility? Society isn't responsible for enabling people's drinking. If you can't get home without driving, then don't drink (or if it's a long visit, have only one or two, at the beginning).
All that takes is living out of town and walking down the main route to your house and someone stopping and smelling alcohol.
It is great to put that theoretical thing in place. But people do, occasionally, mess up. I rarely went to bars because of transportation - others, not so much. Alcohol impairs judgement as, and if the options aren't there and easy to use, it is more likely that folks will drive drunk.
Or you could just be walking while black (or hispanic, etc.).
The keyword here is "impaired." It doesn't just have to involve drugs, being exhausted and attempting to drive is also very dangerous. Not just for you, but for everyone else on/near the road.
Also, do you support the .08 legal limit for alcohol? That's about two drinks for most people. If you do, do you think Marijuana should be any different? Why could I have two drinks, but not two joints?
"Do not read this and think it's okay to drive high. It's not. Do not drive high."
MAYBE this is correct. But it is also possible that being stoned is benign compared to allergy medication, sleep apnea symptoms, general fatigue, texting while driving, and a hundred other causes of risk, enough to make it hard to distinguish driving while stoned as an seperable risk factor.
The downside of statements like this is that they perpetuate a fear-driven enforcement model that will cost many people thousands to tens of thousands of dollars for infractions that are not making anyone safer. And there are opportunists ready to enrich themselves on that basis.
> And after adjusting for age, gender, race and alcohol use, drivers who tested positive for marijuana were no more likely to crash than who had not used any drugs or alcohol prior to driving.
That means users who are too high to drive know it, and don't. It also means you can drive high as long as you're not too high without adversely affecting safety.
Pot is not alcohol, it does not belong in that mold and there's absolutely no reason to single it out of the multitude of other things that can impair driving. Alcohol is a special case precisely because it impairs your judgement.
I don't know about that, I think the people who want to do that will just find another excuse. Especially potheads, who seem to be unable to acknowledge that anything exists in this world that isn't helped by pot. Driving? probably better if you do while high. Seizures? Pot is now the only accepted option man. Broken back? Here have a pot brownie.
Which by the way, you ever want to see just how good you are in reality, go do one of the racing related or defensive driving course. Ouch.
Most days when I get out of work the first thing I do is smoke with my Pax2 as I walk to my car.
I then drive home 'high'. I've done this most of my adult life. Smoking Pot and driving has zero negative effects on my driving. In fact, just as the article points out, I am more likely to drive more safely and take it easy.
Also, for what its worth, there are two types of strains - Sativa and Indica.
Indica is the type that knocks you out and makes you sit on the couch doing nothing; Sativa's, for me anyway, gives a focused, up buzz that makes me sharper and more alert.
I am a Sativa-only guy and for me smoking and then dealing with rush-hour traffic is how I prefer things. If you are saying people shouldn't smoke an indica heavy strain and then drive, I could see that argument but, in my experience, it's still safer than alcohol. But yes, generally, I would agree with that.
Sativa's though, no way, that just doesn't make sense based on my personal experience.
I agree, but I also think it's more nuanced than that. Sure, at the extremes you're totally right. Though take a daily smoker who doses themselves with a predictable and regular amount... that person is very likely not impaired, or at least not more impaired than somebody who's behind the wheel while they're tired.
I think the reality is very complicated... and that makes accurate laws really hard to create. It certainly is easier to just say "you can't have any THC in your body while you're driving"... but I don't agree with that and I don't have a better suggestion honestly.
Marijuana doesn't significantly impair reflexes (as generations of musicians have shown). As for judgment, it tends to make users more cautious, not more aggressive. They're not trying to get around that car in front of them to blow through the used-to-be-yellow light - they're trying to make sure they remember where they're going...
My read of the article referenced is that current measurement techniques for Marijuana do not accurately correlate with driver impairment. That's not the same thing as stating Marijuana impaired drivers are safer than ones intoxicated with alcohol.
I have used cannabis recreationally a few times, and each time I feel slightly mentally impaired (slow thinking) for days afterward. It has completely scared me off from using it further.
I do know a few individuals who have smoked pot regularly for decades. I don't see cannabis having had any negative effects on them or their families. They are intelligent, successful people in long term stable relationships.
Having known a lot of older daily smokers (decades) and older alcoholics, alcohol is a lot more damaging, both mentally and physically. I've never seen anyone die in their 40s from marijuana, but I've seen a few people eventually lose that battle with their liver or their kidneys from alcohol. Older alcoholics can be almost shockingingly stupid, too - far worse than young alcoholics.
As an aside, is music really reliant on reflexes like this? I would assume that the beat of a song gives one plenty of forewarning as to when a melody might change.
And that assumes that the rhythm of a melody doesn't put you in am altered, hypnotic state in other ways.
So yes, in addition to the physical reflexes needed to play difficult instruments gracefully, there's a lot of in-the-moment reflex in responding to the music and your fellow musicians.
Ostensibly, yes. In practice, usually only one person at a time is playing a solo over a predetermined and repeating chord progression.
Even within totally composed music, a lot of attention is required to keep timing in sync. Performing live music in a group setting requires a great deal of attention to what's going on outside your own mind.
Absolutely. The ability to recover from a mistake without anyone knowing.
Talented musicians of all sort can learn how to improvise, but it's a learned skill, not simply "hey, different music means I do something different!" It's an acquired skill that means training your ear to create cohesive melodies.
Musicians tend to either play high or play sober, consistently. I'm consistently sober. However, I've heard recordings of myself playing under the influence of marijuana, and cannot hear a difference. Alcohol, on the other hand, wrecks me musically. Beyond a three-beer limit, my playing becomes a litany of technical mistakes and bad ideas. I won't drink more than a beer while playing music, because it makes me suck.
Not only is there the correlation as described in the article, I've also seen (p=0) much more honest self-evaluation on marijuana.
What reflexes do you need while playing an instrument?
Massively leading title given the statement actually issued, and their own remarks later on:
> There's plenty of evidence showing that marijuana use impairs key driving skills. If you get really stoned and then get behind the wheel, you're asking for trouble.
For marijuana, and for a number of other legal and illegal
drugs including antidepressants, painkillers, stimulants
and the like, there is no statistically significant change
in the risk of a crash associated with using that drug
prior to driving.
What it actually shows is that for one particular study the increase in crashes resulting from users testing positive for marijuana (i.e. have used up to a week ago) becomes statistically insignificant when controlling for user demographics. It also threw up anomalies like a [statistically insignificant] improvement in drivers under the influence of smaller amounts of alcohol over no alcohol or drugs, so I wouldn't exactly herald it as definitive.
To argue that they "pretty much says it is ok to smoke and drive" is a grotesque distortion of the actual research.
Why doesn't "key driving skill" impairment from marijuana appear to increase the risk of a crash? My best guess is that stoned drivers are concerned about being pulled over and are able to compensate more than 1) someone impaired but not aware/concerned enough to compensate (e.g. tired or distracted drivers) or 2) someone worried about getting pulled over but unable to compensate as well for their impairment (e.g. drunk drivers).
I suspect majority of drivers testing positive for cannabis were not actually remotely close to being stoned at the time they were driving plays a huge role too (possibly also overzealous demographic controls). That's consistent with the study authors' observations that other studies based on accidents which rely on self-reported cannabis use show it to have a large effect on accident rates, and studies which rely on testing to show it has little or no discernible impact on accident rates. They consider the studies relying on testing to be superior in construction. Based on the well-established fact that cannabis use tends to show up in standard tests days after its main effects have worn off, I beg to differ.
Edit, case in point, caveats from the paper itself:
> While the findings of this case control study were equivocal with regard to the crash risk associated with drug use by drivers, these results do not indicate that drug use by drivers is risk-free. The study limitations cited above, together with the findings of numerous other studies using different and complementary methods, need to be carefully considered before more definitive conclusions about drug use and crash risk can be reached.
> The findings of this study notwithstanding, the established body of scientific evidence on the subject of drug impairment indicates that in some situations, drugs other than alcohol can seriously impair driving ability.
Oh, and you really should read articles all the way through:
> So, should we all assume that we're safe to blaze one and go for a joyride whenever the whimsy strikes us? Absolutely not. There's plenty of evidence showing that marijuana use impairs key driving skills. If you get really stoned and then get behind the wheel, you're asking for trouble.
Note: those drugs come with warnings either recommending against driving or observing your reaction to the drug before driving.
Not: "you can, so, good to go".
I don't smoke. I work in EMS. I see many many positive medical and recreational uses. My partner is a recreational, daily smoker. I have no bias here.
I'm just pointing out that you're extrapolating from the quote above something that it doesn't say. No comment is made about the safety of those drug classes and driving, and indeed your extrapolation makes you as guilty of inference as you say others are:
"Well, I don't see any impact when I use those drugs and drive, so I don't see a problem".
Personally, I think prohibitionists/law enforcement is looking for an easy money-grab and are hunting for justification of their desires rather than responding to an actual harmful issue that society is facing.
The study did not show that it's safe to drive while stoned, and if you read the entire article they're fairly clear about that.
Which is exactly what I can't argue with. My point was in reference to the conclusion of the article, which states,
We apparently cannot map concentrations of THC to driver impairment. Which agrees with my anecdotal experience in the matter, that the effects THC vary greatly with individuals.
A ton. Someone who only drinks a couple times a year and drives home drunk from a wedding or something and isn't used to it is a lot more unsafe than someone who goes to happy hour every day and drives home all the time like that.
Somebody testing positive for marijuana may not be stoned at all. It could be they were stoned last week and tested positive.
Furthermore, alcohol testing is much easier and is the only type of testing really done by police in the field. Police will try to get you to admit being impaired by other drugs if they stop you, but they do not have anything like the breathalyzer to test for other drugs.
Current data comparing driving impairment of various drugs and alcohol is almost entirely an artifact of the difference in testing methods.
From the article:
> The study's findings underscore an important point: that the measurable presence of THC (marijuana's primary active ingredient) in a person's system doesn't correlate with impairment in the same way that blood alcohol concentration does.
The story here is that there is no "THC impairment" test like there is a blood alcohol test, not that driving while stoned is safer.
I'm surprised no one here has mentioned AAA's findings (legalization followed by a 2x increase in fatal marijuana-related crashes): http://newsroom.aaa.com/2016/05/fatal-road-crashes-involving...
EDIT: Link to the study [PDF]: http://publicaffairsresources.aaa.biz/wp-content/uploads/201...
So quite literally by their own definition, someone could smoke some weed, a week later get drunk, go driving, crash, and now this is a 'marijuana related' crash?
I don't buy it.
One could compare marijuana-related accidents to any number of other dangerous activities and make it look safe in comparison.
Why try and encourage something that is clearly dangerous and irresponsible? This article (especially the headline) is incredibly dangerous and misleading, as it's apparently trying to get people to respond with something like "see, marijuana doesn't harm anyone," when in reality, it does.
This isn't "a flaw", it's a fatal flaw that invalidates the study. You're missing the point; saying marijuana-related accidents is itself an invalid statement as there is not way to quantify that correctly. You can therefore not conclude anything from marijuana-related anything other than people who want to control other people are happy to use invalid statistics to try and impose their will where it isn't welcome.
> Why try and encourage something that is clearly dangerous and irresponsible?
Because it is not dangerous and irresponsible, that's your assumption, it is not a fact in evidence.
>The percentage of drivers involved in fatal crashes who recently used marijuana more than doubled from eight to 17 percent between 2013 and 2014.
How are they ruling out the fact that since it's been legalized, more people in general are using marijuana?
That's exactly the point. No one is trying to say that driving high has gotten more dangerous as a result of legalization - just that it's inherently dangerous (and a certain percentage of marijuana users are going to be driving either way), so legalization only contributes to more usage, leading to more irresponsible decisions on the road.
If there was a general increase in accidents, I think you would have a point, but all this conclusively demonstrates is that there has been an increase of marijuana usage among the population of Washington. The thing about how these drug tests work, is that they do not test impairment or if someone was high at the time, but if they were high within the past few hours to days. I think you're misunderstanding, that even if there is THC in someone's bloodstream, it does not mean they are high. It is possible that none of the drivers in the study were high at the time of their crashes, and all of them smoked the day before. It is also possible that every single one was high during the collision. Due to the nature of the testing, the linked study is not very conclusive on at least what you're trying to prove from it.
What evidence is there that the increased cannabis use is causing these crashes, considering you have to control for the fact that more people in general are using cannabis, so in almost any population (drivers in fatal car crashes; fast food employees; school teachers; whatever) you could expect to see an increase in use.
All we know from this is that there was a increased detection of thc for people involved in fatal accidents. The reason for this seems obvious to me and I assume it correlates with general increased use among the population. I still conject that "fatal" accidents are used here to push a particular narrative. I don't see any significance in "fatal" versus cumulative accidents or DUI arrests.
If the intent is to prove that there is an increased hazard on the road due to marijuana use, then they need to prove that it's use significantly increases this hazard AND that the rate of drivers under influence has increased. Those are two separate and independent studies.
I'm still waiting to see those studies.
As there's no valid means of determining "while high", this is simply not a rational thing to attempt to do. Additionally, there's no data supporting that driving while high is actually a problem that needs solving, specifically that people don't know they're too high and drive anyway. You should first prove something is a problem before attempting to outlaw it.
1) What do they mean by "involving marijuana?" The article jumps straight to THC concentration levels in the blood, but doesn't state that this was what was measured in the (i assume) study they are referencing. "Involving marijuana" could just as easily mean that they found pot or paraphernalia in the car. In previous studies I've read, this was actually the case.
2) Why limit it to just fatal road crashes? Is it because there's no change to nonfatal crashes or perhaps that number went down implying that their assumption of marijuana's influence over driving ability is pronounced and are instead focusing on an outlier to push an agenda?
3) Did the total number of fatalities change significantly? If not, then this is a non-story. Of course there would be more instances "involving marijuana." It's legal now, so there's more people "involved" with marijuana on a day to day basis. This would be no different than saying that the rate of fatal crashes "involving" Tesla automobiles has increased since they were introduced to the market.
All of this may be addressed in the study and this is just a terrible story, but I can't tell from the article.
We also call this "meditating while driving" and "'This isn't my bike!? How do I drive something with 4 wheels?'"
As a CO resident, maybe you just haven't noticed how shitty our drivers are ;)
I've lived in many places, including Colorado, and let me tell you – drivers are shitty everywhere :)
Maybe a driver could take a short impairment test on their cellphone or in car computer prior to starting their drive -- if they pass the test then they would have an argument against impairement should they become subsequently involved in an accident... If they fail the test and drive anyway then there's an even stronger argument that they made an irresponsible decision for which they must take responsibility.
I'm all for legalization, but I will not support the potential of endangering other people.
Maybe instead of breathalysers and drug detection kits we should have standardised attention/reaction tests to determine if someone is safe to drive (you could probably even run them on a tablet). This would also weed out (pun intended) tired drivers.
If anything, I'd be concerned the opposite effect would occur - data suggesting that driving stoned is safe will cause stoned drivers to lower their guard and not compensate for their impairment as much, and thus raise stoned driving accident rates.
If you drive within an hour or two or three of smoking sticky buds, the risk is not reflexes or reaction time, it's getting distracted by your own thoughts, or zoning out. That can easily translate into driving through a red light. The mind wanders when stoned, which is the opposite of what you want when operating machinery.
Also... Driving impaired in anyway is a big mistake.
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11706682 and marked it off-topic.
You mean like a bicycle, moped, a new parent driving extra slow, an elderly driver, or any other street legal slow vehicle does?
I understand that drivers assume the speed LIMIT is a speed suggestion, and experience road rage when driving under the limit, but there is nothing -- nothing -- illegal or unsafe about staying under the speed limit.
If there is something unsafe about it, there should be a minimum posted speed (many places have this).
It's generally wise not to do anything other drivers will find surprising and I guess 35mph on a motorway falls in that category.
Most important thing when driving is to be predictable. It's predictable to be traveling plus or minus 10 mph from what is posted.
It isn't predicted to be traveling 30mph+ below the speed limit.
(no comment on being high, just saying, it's super dangerous to be doing 30-40 on a 65mph road).
As a US citizen I will tell you this is false. We have basically no national traffic laws.
Your local state, city or other local government may have passed a law like this.
For example, in my area, it was made illegal to stay in the left lane moving more slowly than those behind you -- you must yield to the right if they want to go more quickly.
But some 99% of Americans do not live under this local law I'm discussing.
Also, a Google Self-driving car got pulled over the other day for simply going the speed limit, it did not get a ticket but I thought I would mention it.
Trivial to argue that reduced speed is required for safe operation in this case, the research in this very article may be useful in that defense
Go to any motorcycle riding school and all their instructors will teach you that riding slower than the traffic around you is more dangerous than maintaining the average traffic speed, even when above the legal speed limit.
Slowing down is safer because it significantly reduces the severity of the traffic accidents that do happen.
Samuel C. Tignor and Davey Warren. "Driver Speed Behavior on U.S. Streets and Highways." Institute of Transportation Engineers: 1990 Compendium of Technical Papers, 1990 August, p. 85.
"The accident involvement rates on streets and highways in urban areas was highest for the slowest 5 percent of traffic, lowest for traffic in the 30 to 95 percentile range and increased for the fastest 5 percent of traffic."
I don't even think that pot makes people drive slowly. IMO it's a result of stoned people being afraid of giving the police any excuse to pull them over.