Drunk driving is made more dangerous by the depressant delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In those who use THC regularly, these effects are more noticeable and can continue for up to eight hours with THC oral preparations. It does not appear to affect driving ability.
Patients taking THC-containing medications should avoid driving and other risky activities (such as operating machinery) for the first 2-3 weeks of treatment and in the immediate aftermath of each dose. There is no legal exemption for medical Delta 9 THC users from roadside drug testing or the penalties generated with it, even if they don’t appear impaired.
This article will offer a concise review of the scientific information about the effects of Delta 9 THC on driving ability and address current legal concerns that affect patients and clinicians both.
Effect with THC:
Recent research supports THC’s effectiveness in treating multiple sclerosis spasticity, chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and chemo-induced vomiting. 2–4
On the other hand, it is non-intoxicating and has received regulatory approval in Australia for the oral administration of 100 mg/mL formulations for some rare forms of pediatric epilepsy (Epidiolex).
According to new research, anxiety, psychosis, chronic pain, and neurological problems may benefit. 5–7 There is some evidence that it helps alleviate some of the adverse effects of THC, such as anxiety and paranoia. 8,9 ‘wellness’ products are becoming increasingly popular around the world. It is common for these products to have dosages between five and fifty milligrams (mg).
THC-dominant dominant or a specific balance of THC is the most common oral preparation. THC dosages for therapeutic purposes typically fall between 5 and 20 milligrams, but the dosages range from 50 to 1,500 milligrams. There is also the option of prescribing Delta 9 THC plant material, which is less popular.
Because products that meet specific criteria have been de-scheduled from Schedule 4 to Schedule 3, they are now readily available in pharmacies as over-the-counter medications. Products of this type will have a daily dose cap of 150 mg, and one administers orally or sublingually only.
The TGA approves no THC products for registration on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods under Schedule 3,13. That is likely to change within the next 12–24 months once companies have had goods approved by the TGA.
A review of THC pharmacology:
There are several reasons why THC can re-enter the bloodstream days or even weeks after Delta THC use. THC levels in the blood and oral fluids spike quickly and briefly after smoking or vaping marijuana. THC concentrations in the blood are much lower when THC is usable orally, as the gastrointestinal tract takes longer to absorb the drug.
Current mobile drug testing procedures and accompanying laws rely entirely on the detection of THC in blood or oral fluid THC, although this does not consistently predict impairment.
Driving under the influence of medical marijuana:
In most Delta 9 THC and driving studies, participants under the age of 25 who are otherwise healthy get THC doses strong enough to make them feel stoned (i.e., intoxicated). There is a pressing need for rigorous experimental studies on the impact of medical Delta 9 THC on driving performance in patients.
Patients treated with nabiximols for an extended period have recently been the subject of a study that revealed some interesting findings. Some patients reported no change or an improvement in their ability to drive, presumably because of decreased spasticity and increased cognitive functioning.
32 Following a course of treatment lasting between four and six weeks, most patients demonstrated a minor improvement in their ability to drive. Patients who use Delta 9 THC for medical purposes regularly and for extended periods are more likely to build a tolerance to the depressant effects of THC, which could reduce their risk of driving while impaired.
Drug testing on the go:
Smoking, vaping, or eating Delta 9 THC products can introduce THC through oral cavity contamination into the mouth. Because there is no proof that it induces a positive roadside drug test in the absence of THC, there are currently no legal limits on patients driving while taking it -only products.
Legislation permitting patients using medical THC to drive legally with THC in their systems as long as they are not impaired is considered by the Victorian government. If this were to pass, patients would be able to use Delta 9 THC in the same way other medications known to impair driving, such as opiates and benzodiazepines, are currently allowed. These alterations will not affect most patients who now self-medicate with illegal THC products.
Detection periods for THC:
THC is generally detectable in oral fluid for 4–6 hours after smoking or vaporizing THC. However, this varies concerning individuals and depends on salivary content, flow rate, time since eating, and frequency of THC use.
Driving can be affected by other circumstances, such as:
When Delta 9 THC and alcohol are together, the effects can be amplified, increasing the risk of a car accident. When using medical marijuana, patients should be cautious about their usage of alcohol and other sedative substances. This interaction between THC and alcohol is still under research. However, it appears to be unlikely.
Driving is a challenging endeavor that necessitates mental and physical abilities. Driving safely can be jeopardized if a drug impairs these processes. Low-dose alcohol appears to have similar effects on driving when one consumes THC. However, an impairment may be more pronounced and potentially severe among people new to THC or who use it in combination with alcohol or other impairing medicines.
Patients taking THC-containing medicinal Cannabis products should be cautioned not to drive or engage in other risky activities (such as operating machinery) for the first few days of therapy and hours following each dose. Even if they are not affected, patients who use THC-containing products risk testing positive in oral fluids. It -only treatments offer no road safety concern, although It is unlikely to alleviate THC-induced impairment.