Weed impairs driving skills long after the high is goneLast Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2020
(CNN, January 14) A new study found that heavy marijuana users drive dangerously – even after the “high” has worn off.
Researchers asked regular marijuana users (those who use the drug almost every day) to drive using a driving simulator. During the experiment, the participants hadn’t used the drug in at least 12 hours and did not have much THC in their systems.
Marijuana users drove more dangerously than non-users during the study. And those who had been using the drug regularly before they turned 16 years old were the worst drivers.
"Prior to age 16, the brain is especially neurodevelopmentally vulnerable, not just to cannabis but to other drugs, alcohol, illness, injury," Director of the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND) program at McLean Hospital Staci Gruber said. "The brain is really under construction, or if you're in the cannabis world, 'half-baked.'
"And when we looked at the cannabis users and separated those into early (before age 16) versus later onset of use, almost exclusively these differences between the two groups were attributed to the early onset group," Gruber said. "So it's really early exposure to cannabis that appears to confer greater difficulty with complex cognitive tasks like driving." Read more.