Wednesday January 22, 2020

Here’s How Marijuana can Have an Impact on Your Driving Ability

Marijuana may affect driving ability for 12 hours after use

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Marijuana
Marijuana use may have an impact on driving ability even 12 hours after use. Pixabay

Researchers have found that marijuana use may have an impact on driving ability even 12 hours after use.

The study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, found that in addition to chronic, heavy, recreational cannabis use being associated with poorer driving performance in non-intoxicated individuals compared to non-users.

While several studies have examined the direct effect of cannabis intoxication on driving, no other studies until now have examined the effects on driving in heavy marijuana users who are not high.

“People who use cannabis don’t necessarily assume that they may drive differently, even when they’re not high,” said study researcher Staci Gruber from McLean Hospital in the US.

“We’re not suggesting that everyone who uses cannabis will demonstrate impaired driving, but it’s interesting that in a sample of non-intoxicated participants, there are still differences in those who use cannabis relative to those who don’t,” Gruber added.

Marijuana
While several studies have examined the direct effect of cannabis intoxication on driving, no other studies until now have examined the effects on driving in heavy marijuana users who are not high. Pixabay

For the findings, the research team used a customised driving simulator to assess the potential impact of cannabis use on driving performance.

At the time of study, marijuana users had not used for at least 12 hours and were not intoxicated.

Overall, heavy marijuana users demonstrated poorer driving performance as compared to non-users.

For example, in the simulated driving exercise, marijuana users hit more pedestrians, exceeded the speed limit more often, made fewer stops at red lights, and made more center line crossings.

When researchers divided the marijuana users into groups based on when they started using cannabis, they found that significant driving impairment was detected and completely localized to those who began using marijuana regularly before age 16.

“It didn’t surprise us that performance differences on the driving simulator were primarily seen in the early onset group,” said study researcher Mary Kathryn Dahlgren.

According to the authors, research has consistently shown that early substance use, including the use of cannabis, is associated with poorer cognitive performance.

“What was interesting was when we examined impulsivity in our analyses, most of the differences we saw between cannabis users and healthy controls went away, suggesting that impulsivity may play a role in performance differences,” Dahlgre added.

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“There’s been a lot of interest in how we can more readily and accurately identify cannabis intoxication at the roadside, but the truth of the matter is that it is critical to assess impairment, regardless of the source or cause,” she said. o

“It’s important to be mindful that whether someone is acutely intoxicated, or a heavy recreational cannabis user who’s not intoxicated, there may be an impact on driving,” she added. (IANS)

Next Story

Marijuana Associated with Higher Risk of Heart Problems: Study

"This was eye-opening for us. We're seeing an accelerating use of marijuana and now, for the first time, marijuana users are exceeding cigarette smokers in the US. said Indian-origin researcher and study author Muthiah Vaduganathan from Brigham and Women's Hospital in the US

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DOJ, Marijuana, Growers
Marijuana grows at an indoor cannabis farm in Gardena, California, Aug. 15, 2019. VOA

More than two million adults with heart conditions report that they have used or are currently using marijuana, according to a new study.

Observational studies have linked marijuana use to a range of cardiovascular risks, including stroke, arrhythmia and diseases that make it hard for the heart muscle to pump properly, said the researchers.

“Marijuana use, both recreational and medical, is increasing nationally yet many of its cardiovascular effects remain poorly understood,” said lead author Ersilia M DeFilippis from Columbia University in the US.

“In our National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) query, we estimated that two million adults with marijuana use had cardiovascular disease in 2015-2016. Since that time, additional states have passed legislature related to marijuana so its use may have increased even further,” DeFilippis added.

“Notably, many of our cardiology patients are on medications that can interact with marijuana in unpredictable ways depending on the formulation. This highlights that we need more data so that we can better counsel providers as well as patients,” DeFilippis said.

For the findings, published in the journal Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers, including one of the Indian-origin, conducted a query of data from NHANES to estimate marijuana use among US patients with cardiovascular disease.

They estimated that two million (2.3 per cent) of the 89.6 million adults who reported marijuana use had cardiovascular disease.

Marijuana, Canada, israel
In this July 12, 2018 file photo, a newly-transplanted cannabis cuttings grow in pots at a medical marijuana cultivation facility in Massachusetts. (VOA)

According to the study, the researchers outline the ways that the components and compounds in marijuana may affect the heart and other tissue at a molecular level and the drug interactions that marijuana can have with drugs that are commonly given to cardiology patients.

They also describe observational studies that suggest a connection between marijuana and heart conditions, including: Smoking-related cardiotoxicity: Many of the same cardiotoxic chemicals found in cigarettes are also found in marijuana smoke.

Coronary artery disease: Cannabis inhalation can increase heart rate and blood pressure and may be a trigger of a heart attack.

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Arrhythmias: Marijuana use has been associated with abnormal heart rhythms, including atrial fibrillation.

Cerebrovascular disease: Surveys have found that marijuana smokers were three times more likely to experience a cerebrovascular event, such as a stroke.

“This was eye-opening for us. We’re seeing an accelerating use of marijuana and now, for the first time, marijuana users are exceeding cigarette smokers in the US. said Indian-origin researcher and study author Muthiah Vaduganathan from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US. (IANS)