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Does Marijuana Use Impact Driving?

It is common knowledge that driving under the influence of alcohol is incredibly dangerous. Alcohol alters reaction time, clear thinking, coordination, and much more. You simply shouldn’t get behind the wheel if you’ve recently had a drink. But what about driving under the influence of marijuana? Are there dangers associated with that? It is much harder to judge impairment from marijuana versus alcohol.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, stoned driving may be just as much of a problem as drunk driving. In Washington State, the number of fatal vehicle accidents involving marijuana use more than doubled from 2013 to 2014 rising from 8% to 17%. And it just so happens that 2014 is when recreational marijuana was legalized in the state. While they cannot directly link this to the increase in fatal crashes involving marijuana, it was likely a contributing factor.

Determining Impairment from Marijuana

One of the challenges of cracking down on stoned driving is that there is no clear-cut standard for determining when someone is too impaired to drive. Unlike blood alcohol testing which can be conducted via a breathalyzer in a matter of minutes, testing for THC levels is more complicated. The blood test can take up to two hours, and during that time, THC can drastically decrease resulting in inaccurate results. Plus, THC level alone does not determine how someone is affected. Some people with high THC levels may show low levels of impairment, while someone with a low THC level may be highly impaired. It varies from person to person.

Instead, law enforcement officials may need to use both blood tests and on-the-scene evaluation of physical and mental impairment to make a determination. Marijuana, just like alcohol, can slow reaction time, alter coordination, and negatively impact decision making. It is an addictive substance as well, and drivers should avoid getting behind the wheel while under the influence.

Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

Despite being legal in some states, marijuana is still addictive and can have negative effects. Drivers put themselves and others at risk if operating a vehicle while under the influence. To help mitigate this risk, seeking marijuana addiction treatment is encouraged. Individuals can free themselves of the adverse effects of marijuana on their mental and physical abilities and go about their day with a clearer mind. They can get behind the wheel feeling more alert and focused, able to respond appropriately to changing driving conditions or unexpected hazards, knowing that their judgement is not clouded by the effects of marijuana.

Experience Recovery supports individuals in overcoming addiction to marijuana and other drugs or alcohol through comprehensive, personalized approaches to treatment. Evidence-based therapies are used as part of a broader wellness program to address not just the physical and mental effects of addiction, but how it affects all aspects of a person’s life.

Is Professional Treatment Really Necessary for Marijuana Addiction?

Just like other drugs, marijuana can contribute to changes in the brain. It can be difficult for people to stop use on their own even if they want to. Professional treatment at a facility like Experience Recovery can help individuals to not only overcome physical addiction to marijuana, but psychological addiction as well. Through a supportive detox program and targeted treatment, they can shift their focus to healthier habits and develop strategies for relapse prevention.

Though marijuana itself is not fatal, it can contribute to accidents or injuries that can be. Driving stoned can pose a serious risk for everyone involved. Get the help you need to overcome addiction and build a healthier lifestyle by contacting Experience Recovery today.

Get Help Today!

If you or a loved one needs help getting sober, Experience Recovery can help. Our admissions line is open 24/7.

Get Help Today

If you or a loved one needs help getting sober, Experience Recovery can help. Our admissions line is open 24/7.

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