If you happen to be a regular cannabis user and also own a car, this is one subject you have no doubt pondered on quite a number of occasions. The problem being that when it comes to cannabis consumption and driving, pretty much everyone you speak to has their own unique opinions and beliefs. As for the truth…well, it remains one of the cloudiest subjects in the whole on-going cannabis debate and one that doesn’t look like it’s going to be settled anytime soon.
But in the meantime, what follows is a brief overview of just a few important questions regarding cannabis and driving, along with their respective answers:
Does cannabis impair driving the way alcohol does?
This is an extremely difficult question to answer, given the way in which cannabis affects each and every person in an entirely different way. For some people, just a few hits on a cannabis joint will leave them in the same state of disrepair as would be expected if they had downed a whole bottle of Jack Daniels. In the case of other people, hitting the bong all night leaves them fresh as a daisy. In a scientific sense, cannabis does not have the same impact and influence on the body and brain as alcohol. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that it cannot have very similar effects on a person when it comes to their ability to drive a car safely. So it’s impossible to put a single answer to this particular question when it comes to road safety, but in terms of the actual scientific properties of alcohol and cannabis, the two are inherently and entirely different.
Do all cannabis strains affect driving ability to the same extent?
In this case however, the answer is a simple no. Nevertheless, the explanation is anything but simple. The very reason why there are so many conflicting opinions and beliefs when it comes to cannabis and driving is the way in which there are thousands of different cannabis strains – all of which have their own unique effects when consumed. Just as one strain of cannabis may make it borderline impossible for you to even lift a finger, others will have you feeling more alert, energetic and generally more capable than ever before.
This is where much of the debate originates from, given that when it comes to alcohol you know exactly what kind of effect to expect. The amount of alcohol a person needs to consume for it to influence their driving ability will always differ from one person to the next. However, the effects alcohol has on the body and brain are considered comprehensively negative when it comes to road safety. With cannabis, it’s a subject of heavy debate – one complicated by the sheer number of strains available.
Is it legal to drive while impaired by cannabis?
In most places, driving under the influence of anything whatsoever that may have a negative impact on your driving is entirely illegal. This includes alcohol, recreational drugs and even the use of any prescription medications that are known to have a detrimental impact on alertness, decision-making, focus and so on. As such, driving while impaired by cannabis is illegal.
Can the police effectively test for cannabis at the roadside?
Last but not least, current standards for testing an individual’s cannabis impairment are flawed to say the least. And it’s a double-edged sword as far as the cannabis user is concerned. In terms of roadside testing, there really is no specific method available. Police officers can use their own judgment, but given the fact that a blood test is needed, this is something that cannot be done at the roadside. What’s more, when blood samples are taken and analysed, they may show cannabis in the system of the individual tested even if they have not consumed any cannabis for several days – sometimes even weeks. As such, if you are pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence of cannabis though haven’t touched the stuff in days, there is still every chance the test could come back with a positive result.