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New Study Shows Cannabis Effects on Driving Skills
Date:3/1/2013

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- New research appearing online today in Clinical Chemistry, the journal of AACC, shows that cannabis can be detected in the blood of daily smokers for a month after last intake. The scientific data in this paper by Bergamaschi et al. can provide real help in the public safety need for a drugged driving policy that reduces the number of drugged driving accidents on the road.

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Cannabis is second only to alcohol for causing impaired driving and motor vehicle accidents. In 2009, 12.8% of young adults reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs and in the 2007 National Roadside Survey, more drivers tested positive for drugs than for alcohol. These cannabis smokers had a 10-fold increase in car crash injury compared with infrequent or nonusers after adjustment for blood alcohol concentration.

In this paper, 30 male chronic daily cannabis smokers resided on a secure research unit for up to 33 days, with daily blood collection. Twenty-seven of 30 participants were THC-positive on admission, with a median (range) concentration of 1.4 mcg/L (0.3–6.3). THC decreased gradually with only 1 of 11 participants negative at 26 days; 2 of 5 remained THC-positive (0.3 mcg/L) for 30 days.

These results demonstrate, for the first time, that cannabinoids can be detected in blood of chronic daily cannabis smokers during a month of sustained abstinence. This is consistent with the time course of persisting neurocognitive impairment reported in recent studies and suggests that establishment of 'per se' THC legislation might achieve a reduction in motor vehicle injuries and deaths. This same type of 'per se' alcohol legis
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