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Study Says Cannabis Doesn’t Up Vehicle Accident Risk But Alcohol Intake Does

A recent study has revealed that cannabis use alone is not associated with an increased risk of traffic accidents. Researchers looked at data collected from emergency departments in Portland, Oregon; Sacramento, California; and Denver, Colorado; they found that self-reported rates of acute marijuana use were linked with lower car-accident odds. Furthermore, the researchers found that alcohol has a clear connection with an increased risk of car accidents when taken by itself or alongside cannabis.

The team behind the study comprised researchers from the University of California Davis, the Oregon Health and Science University, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Portland State University, the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and other institutions.

According to the researchers, marijuana use alone had no association with higher motor vehicle collisions (MVCs). Interestingly, the researchers found that people who used cannabis more often were actually less likely to be involved in motor vehicle collisions. However, cannabis was only associated with traffic crashes if it was taken alongside alcohol.

The research team notes that relying on THC levels to determine driver intoxication levels isn’t an accurate measure of driving risk. Consequently, the nine-author research team called for the development of better tests that can measure actual driver impairment accurately.

With dozens of states legalizing both medical and recreational cannabis in recent years, many marijuana-reform opponents argue that legalizing cannabis increases the risk of traffic accidents. Current cannabis intoxication testing tools are mostly inaccurate as the connection between intoxication and THC levels can depend on regular marijuana use patterns, usual use, and the time and means of measurement.

The researchers say these factors make it difficult to gauge how cannabis affects driving based on “strict cut-offs of drug levels.” Even so, the research suggests that nationwide cannabis reform efforts haven’t led to an increase in motor-vehicle collisions. The controversial drug was only associated with traffic accidents when taken alongside alcohol but was linked to reduced accident risk when taken by itself.

Although the paper indicates cannabis use isn’t associated with increased accident risk, researchers say results were limited by the fact that research only included drivers who agreed to take part in the study. Consequently, the researchers note that these participating drivers likely had “less-concerning” drug-use behaviors, especially those associated with issues such as motor vehicle collisions where the participant was at fault.

Self-reported drug use may also be biased in favor of a weaker relationship between car crashes and marijuana, the researchers said. The study results were published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.

As additional studies clarify the effects and benefits of marijuana, more people could have their concerns addressed, and industry actors such as Verano Holdings Corp. (CSE: VRNO) (OTCQX: VRNOF) will likely see their products enjoying growing demand.

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