While recreational and medicinal marijuana is becoming more and more legalized not only in the United States but in countries all around the globe, many drivers have taken advantage of the new laws to smoke while driving their vehicles. This is not always the wisest choice since pot can not only impair your judgement and your timing, but it can also lead to a DUI (Driving While under the Influence) arrest.

Make no mistake about it, if you get pulled over and are charged with a DUI you need to contact an attorney who specializes in DUI as soon as possible. Says the Law Office of Aaron M. Black, PLLC, Scottsdale DUI lawyer in the U.S., you will require a lawyer who is an expert in defending individuals charged with vehicular crimes and DUIs, and who is also an expert at navigating his or her way around a complex litigation case such as those that can involve legalized marijuana.  

But before you get pulled over by an officer of the law, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the facts behind driving while under the influence of pot. According to a recent report compiled by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the U.S., there is little doubt that marijuana can impair motor coordination, judgement, and the time it takes to react to specific circumstances like a child suddenly running out into the road.

Experts attest that studies have uncovered a direct relationship between “blood THC concentration and impaired driving ability.” To add fuel to the fire, marijuana is the “illicit drug” that is most often found to be present in the blood of drivers who have been pulled over for DUI and/or been involved in serious car crashes, including those that have proven fatal

European Pot Studies   

Two separate but extensive European sponsored studies have concluded that drivers with THC in their blood are twice as likely to be the guilty party in a fatal car crash as other drivers who have abstained from alcohol and marijuana. But the role the pot played in the vehicular accidents is said to be often unclear since it can be detected within body fluids for days or even several weeks after consuming it since people often mix it with alcohol.   

The studies go on to conclude that people involved in vehicular crashes who have THC present in their blood, especially at high levels, “are three to seven times more likely to be responsible for the incident than drivers who had not used drugs or alcohol.” The risk of mixing pot with alcohol is said to be greater than that for each substance ingested separately.

Marijuana Use Disorder

Experts point to several “meta-analyses” of studies that uncovered the increased risk of being involved in a vehicular collision after using marijuana. In some cases, the risk actually doubled or even tripled or quadrupled.

Yet a large scale, case-control study sponsored by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was said to have found no significant increased collision risk which would be attributable to pot consumption for drivers’ gender, race, age, and alcohol consumption.

Experts say that regular use of marijuana can lead directly to the development of a problem that’s known in scientific communities as “marijuana use disorder.” This can take the form a of severe addiction in many cases.

Data collected recently suggests that those individuals who use pot regularly develop some degree of marihuana use disorder. That said, individuals who begin using the drug prior to their 18th birthday are far more likely to develop the disorder than those who don’t begin using until they are legal adults.    

An Addict is Born

Marijuana use disorder is said to become an addiction when the individual using it cannot stop, despite it having an adverse effect on his or her life, and even if it means they’ve been arrested for not one DUI but two or even three. Controversy is said to surround the number of persons who are actually addicted to pot. This is due in part to “epidemiological studies of substance use often use dependence as a proxy for addiction,” even if it’s entirely possible to become dependent on marijuana minus the addiction. Of course, this could just be mincing words.

The same studies however, point to the fact that 9 percent of the persons, who use marijuana regularly, will indeed become dependent on the substance. This percentage rises to 17 percent in those who begin using pot in their early teenage years, including aged 16, when many children first earn their driver’s permit. A scary combination indeed.

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