Exploring the effects of marijuana use on driving ability

TORONTO — A new law has been passed which imposes hefty fines for driving under the influence of marijuana in this province. I thought this was a good time to look at what evidence we actually have for the effects of marijuana on driving and accidents.

We are talking here about the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main active component in marijuana, on driving. There are a few different types of studies which have tried to examine this. The first type of study simply looks at the acute physical and mental effects of the drug. On the physical side, studies have shown that marijuana decreases motor coordination and reaction time, and on the mental side, it increases risk-taking behaviour and impairs judgment.

Do these actually impair driving ability? To answer that, researchers have taken subjects with varying blood THC levels and subjected them to either a driving...

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