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The Effects of Cannabis and Alcohol when driving

The Effects of Cannabis and Alcohol when driving

Learn about the effects of Cannabis and Alcohol while driving in Australia. Does marijuana affect driving or is it safer than alcohol?


Disclaimer: This topic may represent illegal activity in certain regions. We do not encourage illegal activity. We understand that readers in locations where cannabis has been legalised may read these articles.

Did you know that the recreational use of marijuana will be legal in Canberra, ACT in 2020? Alongside Medical Cannabis reforms making access to treatment easier, Australia will be experimenting with legal Cannabis before legalising nation-wide.

With Canberra becoming the “Weed Capital” of Australia, various health and political groups are concerned about the unforeseen dangers with Cannabis and driving. Car Crashed (Land Transport Accidents) are one of Australia’s leading causes of death.

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) has opposed the new Cannabis laws, saying they will lead to more death and injury on the road. RACS highlights that driving can impair cognitive-motor function, and may double the risk of motor vehicle crashes.

Contrary to these reports though, extensive research on the effects of Cannabis compared with alcohol on driving has been done in the U.S. and Canada that allows us to see real-life scenarios with overnight legalisation of marijuana.

The effects of alcohol while driving.
The effects of alcohol while driving.

The Effects Of Alcohol And Driving

When you drive, you require concentration, coordination and rapid reflexes. Alcohol greatly impairs your ability to drive effectively and increases the risk for accidents.

Alcohol at 0.75 g/kg (roughly four standard drinks) causes high levels of impairment in:

  • Psychomotor performance
  • Short-term memory
  • Reaction time
  • Hazard perception
  • Concentration
  • Hand-to-eye coordination

Its common sense in 2020 to not drive while drunk, as we have grown up with government-sponsored education detailing the adverse effects of driving under the influence of alcohol.

The effects of cannabis (marijuana) while driving.
The effects of cannabis (marijuana) while driving.

The Effects Of Marijuana And Driving

There are many misconceptions with the use of marijuana and how it affects people. But studies have shown that driving after a moderate dose of marijuana impairs driving performance.

It affects alertness, concentration, coordination and reaction time. At a glance, it would seem that both alcohol and Cannabis will have similar effects that increase the dangers of driving.

The main difference is Cannabis lasts between 1-3 hours and Australians who use Cannabis in moderation use it once or twice a month vs alcohol two or four times a week.

The limited, accurate educational content available on the effects of marijuana and driving has a lot of people confused. Do you see Cannabis and Alcohol has the same impact on Australians?

What Happens After The Legalisation Of Marijuana

After legalising marijuana in California, U.S., there have been public safety campaigns to prevent driving while under the influence of weed.

Researchers have found that 17% (1 in 5) of crash victims under the age of 18 tested positive for marijuana.

When children grow up with their parents refusing a glass of wine because they are driving, it becomes common knowledge not to drink and drive.

Cannabis is relatively new, and there are a lot of misconceptions out there. New Zealand has included safety campaigns for the effects of marijuana with its future legalisation bill in 2020.

Once legalised, New Zealanders will be more informed about the effects of Cannabis on one’s health.

Canada and states in the U.S. have enough information and formal studies on the effects of legal recreational Cannabis and driving accidents to give Australia confidence.

We’re walking into new territory, but with the right public education on Cannabis, Australians won’t be driving high or drunk.