Self-reported impacts of recreational and medicinal cannabis use on driving ability and amount of wait time before driving


Objective:

Past research indicates that driving after cannabis use is relatively common. However, not all cannabis users are equally likely to drive after use; frequent cannabis users and frequent drivers are most at risk. It has been suggested that this is due to a perceived lack of impact of cannabis on driving ability.


Methods:

The current study sought to better understand the motivation to drive after recent cannabis use. A survey was used to examine the self-reported impact of cannabis use on driving ability and, further, the amount of time cannabis users wait before driving after use. A total of 562 participants were recruited. Of these, 424 completed the survey and were included for analysis. Purposive sampling was used to screen for cannabis users who were over the age of 18 and residents of Connecticut.


Results:

Cannabis use frequency was found to predict the self-reported impact of both recreational and medicinal cannabis on driving ability, such that more frequent cannabis users reported less impairment. Additionally, cannabis use frequency was predictive of wait time before driving, where more frequent users reported waiting less time before driving after cannabis use. A plurality of participants reported not waiting at all before driving after using cannabis. Notably, the self-reported impact of cannabis on driving ability was not associated with wait time before driving.


Conclusions:

Cannabis users may not wait before driving even if they think it has a negative impact on their driving ability. Other factors that potentially impact driving after using cannabis warrant investigation.


Keywords:

Cannabis; driver behavior; impaired driving; marijuana.

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