Although recreational use of marijuana is not legal in the state, medicinal use is legal for certain medical conditions. However, even if you have your medical marijuana license, it is still illegal to drive while under its influence.
Just like there is with alcohol and BAC, there is a direct relationship with THC concentration in the blood and impaired driving. Penalties can be steep, so it is important to understand how marijuana affects driving ability.
Facts about driving under the influence of marijuana
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in a high percentage of car crashes, law enforcement officers found marijuana in the blood of the drivers involved. Drivers with THC in the blood contribute to fatal accidents twice as many times as drivers with no marijuana or alcohol in their systems. Unlike alcohol, which the body can eliminate within hours, marijuana stays in the system for days or weeks. This means you may not be feeling the effects of the THC, but experts can still detect it in your blood a long time after you use it.
Driving effects of marijuana
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, marijuana affects many of the skills necessary to operate a motor vehicle. It affects motor coordination and judgment, increasing the risk of an accident. Other effects that relate to driving:
- Slowed reaction time
- Distorted sensory and time perception
- Difficulty solving problems or making decisions
These effects usually last between one and three hours, although this varies depending on the amount taken and type of consumption. The effects are even greater when a person uses marijuana in conjunction with alcohol.