San Diego DUI Law Center

According to CNN, a new study was published that tested chronic marijuana use and its effect on driving. They defined “heavy use” as a minimum of 4-5 times a week and a total of at least 1,500 times in a lifetime. The researchers used a customized driving simulator to test the subjects and the subjects had not consumed marijuana for at least 12 hours prior to testing. The study focused on driving skills when the subjects were no longer high.

The researchers discovered that heavy marijuana users consistently performed worse than non-users at driving tasks. They made critical mistakes that could put them in danger on the real roads. The worst drivers of the test group were those who began marijuana use before the age of 16.

Before the age of 16, the brain is especially neurodevelopmentally vulnerable. When compared to drivers that started their cannabis use later in life, researchers found that early exposure to marijuana yields more struggles with complex cognitive tasks like driving. The frontal lobe of the brain is still developing, and it seems that marijuana and other drugs inhibit its development. This section of the brain controls our impulses. Researchers are unsure if these impulsivity differences drive early marijuana use or if early cannabis use drives impulsivity differences.

The implication for San Diego drivers is to be aware of your own driving skills if you are chronic marijuana user. Driving at high speeds, crossing center lines, and getting into accidents were all dangerous behaviors exhibited by frequent cannabis users. While driving under the influence should never be tolerated, these driving behaviors would allow cops to pull over suspects for reckless driving and then proceed to administer DUI tests if they suspected the driver was intoxicated.


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