FEB 21, 2020 10:24 AM PST

Frequent Cannabis Use Could Affect Driving Safety

WRITTEN BY: C Reardon

A new study suggests that heavy marijuana users have the potential to be dangerous drivers. However, hazardous driving appears to be isolated to users who began using marijuana in their teens. The study says that early use is a factor because of the way cannabis affects a developing brain. 

The theory is that those early users of the drug are more apt to be impulsive and rash when making driving decisions. 

Researchers at McLean Hospital in Boston tested 28 regular cannabis users and 17 non-cannabis users, with an average age of 23. They tested the participants of this study in a driving simulation, monitoring how participants reacted in certain driving situations. The findings showed that early cannabis users (those who began using the drug in their teens), even when sober, drove at higher speeds, were less likely to adhere to red lights, and ultimately got in more accidents. 

Photo Source: Pixabay.com

"This research suggests that early exposure to cannabis may result in difficulties performing complex cognitive tasks," says Staci Gruber, associate professor of psychiatry and director of Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2007 to 2016, the amount of fatal vehicle crashes where drivers involved tested positive for cannabis doubled. With marijuana being the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, this is concerning and essential information.

Researchers concluded that the poor driving was almost exclusively limited to people who began their marijuana usage in their teens and that these young starters were more impulsive. However, there is nothing that can prove or disprove that the young users weren't already impulsive by nature.

However, Gruber, co-author of this study, says that studies have proven that early marijuana use is linked to changes in brain development that may result in impulsive behavior amongst other things. 

 

Sources: NBC News

About the Author
  • Chelsey is a content strategist and copywriter with a business degree. She has a background in public relations and marketing and enjoys writing about various topics, from health, to lifestyle, to women’s issues. Since 2016, she has written for a variety of online publications, earning well over 100,000 shares. She published her first book in 2019.
You May Also Like
MAR 17, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
A Critical Step in the Development of Brain Disease is ID'ed
MAR 17, 2021
A Critical Step in the Development of Brain Disease is ID'ed
Some brain diseases including mad cow disease and the human version Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), Kuru, and fatal fam ...
MAR 22, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Improving Cancer Immunotherapy While Reducing Autoimmune Side Effects
MAR 22, 2021
Improving Cancer Immunotherapy While Reducing Autoimmune Side Effects
Immunotherapy aims to make a patient's immune cells better at fighting cancer. The immune system has to be used carefull ...
APR 01, 2021
Health & Medicine
Flavanol-rich Foods Protect Heart from Stress
APR 01, 2021
Flavanol-rich Foods Protect Heart from Stress
Drinking hot cocoa is comforting on cold winter nights, and new research from the University of Birmingham shows that it ...
APR 06, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
New Insight Into a Crucial Immune Cell
APR 06, 2021
New Insight Into a Crucial Immune Cell
Dendritic cells are a crucial part of the immune response; they look out for the presence of pathogenic invaders like vi ...
APR 05, 2021
Neuroscience
Could a Keto Diet Treat Alzheimer's Disease?
APR 05, 2021
Could a Keto Diet Treat Alzheimer's Disease?
  Researchers from Brigham Young University have found evidence that eating a ketogenic diet- which is a diet that ...
APR 13, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
A Color-Changing "Invisible Tattoo" for Long-Term Health Monitoring
APR 13, 2021
A Color-Changing "Invisible Tattoo" for Long-Term Health Monitoring
German researchers have developed an innovative method for continuously tracking and monitoring biomarkers and drugs cir ...
Loading Comments...