Researchers study effects of driving stoned

Driving while high may not be as bad as researchers thought.

Driving while high may not be as bad as once thought. A study conducted by Hartford Hospital and the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine found that smoking marijuana has little effect on driving skills.

The study was published in the March issue of the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, according to an article in The Hartford Courant.

Using legal marijuana supplied by the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the University of Mississippi, researchers tested 85 participants under the influence on their ability to avoid crash-causing traffic incidents, such as avoiding a driver entering an intersection illegally or deciding to stop or go through a changing traffic light.

Researchers found no significant difference between the control group given placebo cigarettes and the group given marijuana cigarettes. However, the study did find that the drivers given marijuana were more easily distracted when under the influence.

Though an interesting conversation point--especially as California prepares to vote on legalizing marijuana next November--these findings do not in any way say that it is safe or legal to drive while high.

Indeed, according to a 2004 fact sheet from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, marijuana has "been shown to impair performance on driving simulator tasks and on open and closed driving courses for up to approximately 3 hours."

(Source: InsideLine via Jalopnik)

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