Marijuana Does Affect Drivers: Here’s How

Marijuana has accounted for more failed drug tests and clearinghouse violations than any other substance. This isn’t particularly shocking being that marijuana is one of the most commonly used substances that will lead to a failed drug test. But as marijuana laws continue to change around the country, there is some confusion among CMV drivers. 

Rather than looking at the details of the laws surrounding marijuana, today we’ll take a look at the scientific evidence regarding how marijuana can impact CMV drivers’ ability to operate their motor vehicle. 

Here’s how marijuana can, and does, impact drivers. 

Likelihood of A Crash Increases With Marijuana 

Let’s start with the big picture; your likelihood of a crash undoubtedly increases when you’re intoxicated on marijuana. TheVeryWellMind published an article on the impact marijuana has on drivers. The writer of the article found that, “An analysis of several studies has found that the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash significantly increases after using marijuana. Another meta-analysis estimates that the risk of a crash that results in serious injury or death doubles after marijuana use.”

The fact that using marijuana has a direct correlation with higher rates of auto accidents should be enough to keep drivers away from the substance, but in case it isn’t, let’s take a closer look at why your likelihood of a crash increases due to marijuana intoxication. 

Cognitive Effects of Marijuana 

The reason people enjoy marijuana is largely due to the cognitive impact the substance has on them. Unfortunately, these cognitive effects don’t bode very well for drivers. One of the most relevant cognitive effects drivers will experience is a worsened reaction time. The CDC confirms this fact, writing, “Marijuana can slow your reaction time and ability to make decisions...Marijuana use can impair coordination, distort perception, and lead to memory loss and difficulty in problem-solving.” 

All of the cognitive effects outlined by the CDC can have a dangerous effect on drivers. Reaction time, coordination, and depth perception are essential to a CMV driver effectively handling their motor vehicle. This is yet another reason why CMV drivers need to stay away from the substance. 

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System?

For CMV drivers, the question of how long marijuana can stay in your system is an extremely important one. Due to things like drug tests and the cognitive effects marijuana can have on a driver, it’s essential for CMV professionals to understand how long after using marijuana that the drug will pass through their system. 

The general answer is up to two weeks. The CDC writes that, “Marijuana can remain in a user’s system for days or weeks after last use (depending on how much a person uses and how often they use marijuana).” This means that CMV drivers should, at the very least, wait two weeks before they can pass a drug test after using marijuana. 

The laws surrounding marijuana can be confusing to drivers, but in reality, things are black and white for CMV professionals. The safest way to avoid any issues with failing drug tests or causing accidents due to the substance is to simply avoid it.