Intended for healthcare professionals


Driving while under the influence of cannabis

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 09 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e595
  1. Wayne Hall, professor and NHMRC Australia fellow
  1. 1University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research, University of Queensland, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Herston, QLD 4029, Australia
  1. w.hall{at}

It is currently unclear whether roadside drug testing reduces cannabis impaired driving

The findings of the linked paper by Asbridge and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.e536) add weight to the argument that cannabis users should be deterred from driving while intoxicated because of the risk of injury or death to themselves and others.1 This systematic review of nine case-control studies and culpability studies found that recent cannabis use almost doubled the odds of having a motor vehicle crash (odds ratio 1.92, 95% confidence interval 1.35 to 2.73). The increased risk was marginally larger in better designed studies (2.21 v 1.78), in case-control rather than culpability studies (2.79 v 1.65), and in studies that examined deaths rather than injuries (2.10 v 1.74). The authors note that, although residual confounding is possible, their results are consistent with experimental evidence that cannabis use leads to dose related impairments in simulated driving, psychomotor skills, and on-road driving.2 3

Public health education about the dangers of driving while under the influence of cannabis is unlikely to be enough to deter cannabis users from driving—they will …

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