New Study Suggests Low Levels of THC in Blood Do Not Increase Risk of Car Crash

Canada’s historic legalization of marijuana in October 2018 prompted some main modifications to the nation’s drug-impaired driving legal guidelines. The modifications aimed to answer considerations about legalization’s impression on public security, particularly on the street. As a end result, many provinces carried out “zero tolerance” insurance policies for drivers discovered to have THC in their system. But a brand new research from researchers on the University of British Columbia suggests Canada’s drug-impaired driving legal guidelines could also be too strict. According to researchers, the low ranges of THC Canada presently considers over the authorized restrict don’t improve drivers’ danger of getting in a automotive crash.

Researchers: No Link Between Low Levels of THC and Car Crashes

Due to public perceptions concerning the well being and security dangers of legalized hashish, Canadian officers opted to play it protected. So they arrange very conservative authorized limits for THC. Under Canadian regulation, drivers can face fines as much as $1,000 for driving with two to 5 nanograms (ng) of THC per milliliter (mL) of blood. Drivers discovered to have greater than 5 ng/mL of THC face fines over $1,000 and potential jail time. Canada even has particular guidelines for drivers that blend alcohol and hashish. Fines above $1,000 and potential jail time await drivers discovered to have 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 mL of blood and a couple of.5 ng/mL of THC in their system.

But a brand new UBC research suggests the science doesn’t help Canada’s drug-impaired driving legal guidelines. According to researchers, the 2 ng/mL restrict is probably going too strict, since THC ranges as much as 5 ng/mL aren’t related to larger crash dangers.

UBC researchers analyzed blood samples from greater than three,000 drivers handled for vehicle accident-related accidents in British Columbia between 2010 and 2016. Researchers additionally examined greater than 2,300 accident reviews, together with 1,178 reviews in which the driving force was discovered answerable for the crash.

Analyzing the blood samples from these drivers who induced crashes, researchers didn’t discover any hyperlink between THC ranges under 5 ng/mL and elevated danger of accidents. “At blood levels of less than five nanograms/mL, THC does not appear to be associated with an increased risk of crashing,” stated Dr. Jeffrey Brubacher, the research’s lead investigator.

Drugs, Alcohol Still More Dangerous for Drivers than Cannabis

Accurately measuring somebody’s impairment from THC is extraordinarily difficult. Unlike alcohol, which has a reasonably direct relationship between blood content material, physique weight and intoxication, the presence of THC in the blood doesn’t essentially sign impairment. Furthermore, the complicated metabolic pathway of THC makes it troublesome to guage how lengthy a hashish shopper ought to wait earlier than getting behind the wheel. In brief, there’s no apparent relationship between having THC in your system and driving excessive.

But there’s a vital relationship between medicine like cocaine, amphetamines, and heroin and elevated dangers for vehicle crashes. Compared to THC, the UBC research discovered that tough medicine elevated the danger of a crash by 82 %. Furthermore, widespread prescribed drugs and over-the-counter treatment like antihistamines and antidepressants elevated crash dangers by 45 %. But researchers discovered alcohol to have the very best affiliation with crash danger. Drivers with a blood-alcohol content material over zero.08 have been 600 % extra probably than non-drinkers to crash their car.

Importantly, researchers discovered no comparable affiliation between THC ranges under 5 ng/mL and elevated crash danger. They research even casts doubt on whether or not THC ranges above the 5 ng/mL degree improve accident dangers. Of the 1,825 blood samples researchers analyzed, simply 20 had THC ranges above 5 ng/mL.

In brief, alcohol, widespread authorized drugs and exhausting medicine are far more dangerous for drivers than THC. “The biggest problem remains alcohol,” stated Dr. Brubacher. “Drug-impaired driving is probably a problem, but let’s not lose sight of alcohol.”

Will Canada Revise “Driving High” Laws in Light of New Research?

The UBC research on drug-impaired driving exhibits that Canada’s legal guidelines towards driving excessive could also be overly harsh for hashish shoppers. Drivers are dealing with fines, revoked drivers licenses and potential jail time for THC ranges that aren’t inflicting extra accidents or making roads much less protected. The UBC research appears to corroborate different stories and surveys that say legalization isn’t growing incidents of drug-impaired driving.

So will the UBC research immediate Canadian officers to vary their drug-impaired driving legal guidelines? For now, regulation enforcement and public security officers are sticking to the present limits. Canada’s federal authorities is sustaining that hashish will increase the danger of automotive crashes. Police stay satisfied that hashish is impairing and that the restrictive limits make sense.

At the identical time, regulation enforcement and policymakers are welcoming additional analysis into how hashish consumption impacts visitors security. “And I think a lot more research needs to be done before we’re willing to change perspective,” stated Chair of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Drug Advisory Committee Mike Serr.


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