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Learn more about the risks marijuana use poses to your health. Brain, heart, lungs, mental health, poisoning, Pregnancy, driving, CDC, stroke

Here are just a few of the health effects you may want to know:

  • Marijuana use directly affects the brain—specifically the parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning, and attention.
  • The compounds in marijuana can affect the circulatory system and may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
  • Smoking marijuana can lead to a greater risk of bronchitis, cough, and phlegm production.
  • Marijuana users are significantly more likely than nonusers to develop chronic mental disorders, including schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a type of mental illness where people might see or hear things that aren't really there (hallucinations).
  • Eating foods or drinking beverages that contain marijuana have some different risks than smoking marijuana, including a greater risk of poisoning.
  • About 1 in 10 marijuana users will become addicted. For people who begin using before the age of 18, that number rises to 1 in 6.
  • Some research shows that using marijuana while you are pregnant[288 KB] can cause health problems in newborns—including low birth weight and developmental problems.
  • Marijuana use can slow your reaction time and ability to make decisions when driving[271 KB].

 

Marijuana and Driving 2017 Legislation, driving, CDC
The Clinical Conundrum of Medical Marijuana Potency, Studies, driving, Finn, MD, 2017 Legislation

Detailed Information
. Patients freely share their “medicine” with family and friends, and parents are self-diagnosing, and subsequently dosing their children with high-concentration marijuana products for conditions that may simply not exist (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, etc.); or allow their medical cards to expire and continue to grow their own.
The use of marijuana for medical conditions, including pain, needs robust studies, and subsequent products need more regulation and consistency for public consumption. Colorado is an example of the societal effect across a wide spectrum of arenas that comes with rampant cannabis use, particularly in youth use and impaired driving fatalities. The problems Colorado is seeing completely transcend “responsible use” or “marijuana as medicine.” 

 

The AAA Position: Marijuana’s Effect on Driving AAA, postition statement, statement, driving, drugged driving, Impairment, car crashes, Fatalities

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed cannabis use by drivers in one of those states, Washington, and found that the proportion of drivers involved in fatal crashes who had recently used marijuana more than doubled after Washington legalized the drug for recreational use. In addition, there’s currently no easy way to test whether a driver is impaired by marijuana: Unlike alcohol, it can’t be determined by breath or blood tests.

"SWAP" TAC Drug Drive Ad driving, drugged driving, youtube, Fatalities

If you drive on drugs you are out of your mind.

Stoned Drivers Are Killing More and More Innocent Victims drugged driving, driving, car crashes, Washington, Colorado, Fatalities

Fatal driving accidents have risen 122 percent between 2010 and 2014, according to the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission.

The science is clear and unambiguous—pot is a dangerous substance. It is not like alcohol at all. There is a reason it is classified as a Schedule I controlled dangerous substance, right along with heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. The American Medical Association, the American Lung Association, and other reputable doctors and scientists all reject legalization.

Impaired Driving And Cannabis AAA, Washington, driving, car crashes, Colorado, Impairment

Fatal crashes involving drivers who recently used marijuana doubled in Washington after the state legalized the drug. Washington was one of the first two states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, and these findings serve as an eye-opening case study for what other states may experience with road safety after legalizing the drug. 

Marijuana and Driving driving, Infographics
Impacts of Alcohol and Marijuana on Driving AAA, alcohol, driving, Impairment
AAA Marijuana, Alcohol and Driving AAA, driving, alcohol
Testing Drivers for Evidence of Marijuana Use is Difficult driving, drugged driving, drug testing

“It’s really difficult to document drugged driving in a relevant way, [because of] the simple fact that THC is fat soluble,” said Margaret Haney, a neurobiologist at Columbia University. “That makes it absorbed in a very different way and much more difficult to relate behavior to, say, [blood] levels of THC or develop a breathalyzer.”

More Washington Drivers Use Pot And Drive; Effect On Safety Disputed Washington, driving, Fatalities, car crashes

Analysis of Impaired Drivers - Three years ago, about 19 percent of the samples contained THC, the key ingredient in pot. This year, that percentage is up to 33 percent.  

Washington Traffic Safety Commission Washington, car crashes, driving

Olympia, WA – Newly released data from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) shows that marijuana is increasing as a factor in deadly crashes. The number of drivers involved in deadly crashes who tested positive for marijuana increased 48 percent from 2013 to 2014. 
“This study is a step towards answering the myriad of questions we have about the impact of legalized marijuana on driving.

The Futile Search for the “Right” THC per se Level alcohol, driving, impaired

THC is a large, fat-soluble molecule whose concentration in the blood rapidly drops as it is sequestered into the body’s fat stores, including the brain.  Immediately after smoking a joint, the THC level will be very high in the blood and very low in the brain.  The THC level in the brain climbs rapidly at the same time that as it is declining in the blood.  At some point, the concentrations cross, and the concentration continues to rise in the brain while it is still declining in the blood, since the brain acts like a sponge, soaking up the partially insoluble THC from the blood.  

Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicle Report 2014 Florida, Report, driving
Study analyzes how much pot impairs drivers impaired, driving, car crashes, TODAY, Studies

"But what we've found out is that as alcohol-impaired driving is going down, drug-impaired driving is going up." 

  • THC moves more rapidly than alcohol out of the bloodstream and into the body, making it harder to detect accurately with a blood test.
What level of THC in blood causes driving impairment? driving, impaired, drug testing

Let us provide a rational answer to a nonsensical question. It is a nonsensical question because blood is never impaired by THC. Never. Alcohol doesn’t impair blood either. These drugs only impair the brain, not the blood.

AAA Fatal Crash AAA, driving, Fatalities
THE EFFECT OF CANNABIS COMPARED WITH ALCOHOL ON DRIVING alcohol, driving

Cannabis and alcohol acutely impair several driving-related skills in a dose-related fashion, but the effects of cannabis vary more between individuals than they do with alcohol because of tolerance, differences in smoking technique, and different absorptions of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. 

Cannabis / Marijuana ( Δ 9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC) NHTSA, THC, Pharmacokinetics, driving

Decreased car handling performance, increased reaction times, impaired time and distance estimation, inability to maintain headway, lateral travel, subjective sleepiness, motor incoordination, and impaired sustained vigilance have all been reported. Some drivers may actually be able to improve performance for brief periods by overcompensating for self-perceived impairment. The greater the demands placed on the driver, however, the more critical the likely impairment. Marijuana may particularly impair monotonous and prolonged driving. Decision times to evaluate situations and determine appropriate responses increase. Mixing alcohol and marijuana may dramatically produce effects greater than either drug on its own.

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