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Findings document difficulty of determining marijuana-related impairment

January 28, 2016
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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A group of researchers suggests that methods for assessing cannabis intoxication do not give sufficient guidance to law enforcement officers or policy-makers in the effort to combat drugged driving.

An article published in Clinical Chemistry discusses research that tested blood THC levels of adults before, during and after driving in a simulator, confirming that levels after a few hours failed to meet thresholds for impairment that had been reached during driving. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Iowa and the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA's) Intramural Research Program.

A news release from NIDA also stated, “In addition, the wide variability in how THC is metabolized by frequent users versus infrequent users makes accurate testing challenging.”

The article states that development of more effective methods for detecting marijuana intoxication in real time would assist in the development of more accurate guidelines for evaluating marijuana-related impairment.