Impaired Driving: Edibles Edition

Plan on consuming? Stay off the roads.                

Now that edibles have hit the market, we want to take a minute to chat about impaired driving. One very common misconception is that cannabis consumption and operating a vehicle isn’t as fatal or a hazard on the roads when compared to other substances. This is incredibly inaccurate. Consuming cannabis can reduce alertness, alter depth perception, impair concentration and attention span, and slow reaction time and visual function. None of these things translate to being a fully competent driver.

The danger

Your cognitive and psychomotor abilities are impeded when you consume any intoxicating substance, including THC. Not only is there a chance of for impaired driving charges, but you can endanger yourself and others. A recent study from Leafly states that 26% of young adults have driven high or ridden with a high driver. 86% of respondents said they believed it was important to change travel plans to avoid driving if they’d consumed alcohol, only about 70% felt the same about changing plans after consuming cannabis.

The effects

Those who use cannabis frequently don’t think its potential to impair is as serious as alcohol. According to Health Canada, only half of Canadians who have used cannabis in the last year feel it affects driving performance. Federal legislation has set the legal limit for THC to 2 nanograms (ng) of THC per millilitre of blood. The penalties and charges for having a 5 or more ng per mL, or 5 ng per mL and mixing THC with alcohol increase significantly. 

With edibles, since the high is stronger and longer, you should ensure you have plans to stay off the road for at least 6 hours. Even if you take a low dose or you’re a well-seasoned consumer you may be impaired. Don’t risk it. Plan a ride ahead or plan to get real cozy wherever your destination is.

It took decades for drivers to realize the harmful effects of impaired driving, specifically regarding alcohol. The shift was driven by education, which is something we need to place high importance on surrounding cannabis consumption. Consume responsibly and stay safe!