Pot study has some good news

This letter to the Editor was published in the Montreal Gazette, 2018-10-17.

Re: “Don’t drive even five hours after smoking pot: study” (Montreal Gazette, Oct. 16)

While this study confirms the fears of many that marijuana use leads to impairment of tasks requiring concentration and rapid reaction times, the good news is found in the paper itself: when drivers were asked to rate themselves on driving safety, “at 1, 3 and 5 hours after cannabis use, 43 (96%), 40 (89%) and 36 (80%), respectively, scored themselves less safe to drive relative to no cannabis use”.

Thus, while under the influence of the substance, the vast majority of users in this study had sufficient self-awareness that it had a negative impact on their performance.

Would that self-awareness be sufficient to lead them to not drive? Contrast this self-awareness with that of people who consume alcohol.

Frequently, their ability to gauge the effect that alcohol has on their performance suffers, along with their judgment.

On balance, marijuana may be considerably safer than alcohol, if pot users’ self-awareness helps keep them off the roads.

Henry Olders, MD, assistant professor,

department of psychiatry, McGill University

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