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Do New Jersey Marijuana Users Pose Higher Accident Risks?

According to the New Jersey Department of Health, while using medicinal marijuana, patients are not allowed to drive a motor vehicle. The thought behind this is that being high could impair driving and lead to motor vehicle accidents.

Recently, research centered around the effects of marijuana on driving was published in the journal of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry. This was the first time that researchers focused on what the effect of driving could be weeks after smoking marijuana.

From this study, it was found the active ingredient in cannabis, THC, remained in a daily smokers system for several weeks during abstinence from the drug.

In terms of what this means for driving, researchers noted that marijuana is second in terms of playing a role in impaired driving accidents. The No. 1 for impairment and accidents is alcohol.

However, how long impairment lasts after using marijuana is still inconclusive. For while acute impairment can be detected within several hours of using the drug, even though THC may stay in the blood for several weeks, chronic impairment is not as clear.

Giving the fact that a 2005 study found that those who smoke marijuana have ten times the amount of injury causing accidents than those who rarely use, or did not use at all, and the fact that little research has been done on the effects of regularly smoking marijuana and driving, looking to the future the hope is more studies are done.

But as a driver in New Jersey what do you think? Does smoking marijuana on a regular basis increase the risk of getting into an accident?

Source: The Washington Post, “Pot Smoking Could Affect Driving For Weeks, Researchers Suggest,” Bengt Halvorson, March 5, 2013

  • Our firm handles cases where drugged drivers cause accidents that lead to injuries for others. To learn more, visit our New Jersey car accident page.