Have you been smoking cannabis before the age of 16? If so, then you may be a potential danger on the road, the latest study suggests.
In fact, the McLean Hospital in Boston conducted brand-new research that tested 28 heavy cannabis users and 17 non-users via a simulated driving experience. Participants belonging to the cannabis group claimed to have used cannabis five times during a seven-day period and around 1,500 times throughout their lives. Furthermore, they had to abstain from the drug a minimum of 12 hours before the start of the experiment.
When all of the participants arrived at the lab, they were required to provide samples of their urine, which the researchers tested for cannabis and other drugs. Also, the participants had to complete a full psychological assessment, as well as fill out a couple of questionnaires.
During the simulated drive, the researchers found that participants belonging to the cannabis group were more likely to hit a pedestrian, miss stop signs, to speed, and go through red lights than non-cannabis users. Also, they scored higher in impulse behavior than non-users.
Not only that but, when the researchers finally reanalyzed the data, they discovered that faulty driving was linked to the participants who began using cannabis early in their teens. According to Staci Gruber, one of the co-authors of the study, there are numerous studies suggesting that cannabis use is linked with changes in the development of the brain.
Based on claims by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the instances of deadly vehicle crashes in which drivers were positive for cannabis rose from 8% to 18% during the 2007–2016 period. Nevertheless, the results of the latest study do not apply to individuals using cannabis for medical purposes, as these products have lower THC levels.
According to Gruber, the results of the above-mentioned study send a clear message to people involved in public policymaking, as well as educators, on just how vital it is to stop early exposure to cannabis.
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Written by Hermina Drah