Important: it is never advisable to drive while you are under the influence of any substance. Ensure that you have a safety plan ready in the event that your judgement is impacted by drug or alcohol use.
Ever since its legalization in 2017, Canadians have had many questions about how to safely use cannabis while enjoying their regular life without interruption. One of the most pressing and most important questions is how long after smoking cannabis one has to wait in order to be able to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Although it seems like a simple question to answer, there are many different opinions out there in terms of what the waiting period should be. The reason for this is because, unlike alcohol, the science is still up in the air in terms of how long marijuana stays in your system. There are many factors that can affect its staying power, such as the way the drug is taken, how much drug is taken, and individual factors that will differentiate its users from one another.
Simply put, Health Canada warns that marijuana users should wait 24 hours in between getting high and driving to ensure that they don’t drive high.
Factors That Affect the Effects of Marijuana
24 hours may seem like a long time to wait, but the reason why such a large timeframe is given is that marijuana can affect everybody in so many different ways. In fact, the same individual could be affected differently depending on the day’s external factors. Here is just a sampling of the things that affect the effects of marijuana:
There are many different ways to partake in marijuana, with smoking and oral consumption being the most popular. Depending on the method you choose, it may affect you differently, with oral consumption generally being the most intense.
Unlike alcohol, where potency can be easily assumed from liquor type, marijuana can come in a variety of blends, with each one affecting each user slightly differently.
3. Body Mass
Like alcohol, marijuana will have a different effect on everyone, depending on their particular body makeup.
Also like alcohol, a user’s experience with marijuana will determine how affected they are by the drug, with less experienced users being more susceptible.
Again, like alcohol, marijuana is another substance that can affect its user differently depending on the headspace they are in before partaking. This adds to the unpredictable nature of the drug and reinforces the fact that it is better to err on the side of caution to avoid driving impaired. Which brings us to our next point:
What Does Marijuana Do to Your Driving Ability?
You may have heard a peer brag about how marijuana can improve their driving ability, but for human beings, this simply isn’t true. Drivers under the influence of marijuana will not only have a lagging response time, but they will also have more sloppy motor skills and a lessened ability to see. Other effects include:
1. Lessened Ability to Perceive Lane Boundaries
Would you like to share the road with somebody who is swerving in and out of lanes? This bad behaviour is more likely to be seen by a driver who is high on marijuana.
2. Less Speed Control
If you are already somebody who is prone to speeding (or driving too slowly), it is best that you refrain from using marijuana as it can lessen your own speed perception.
3. Less Accident Prevention
How many times have your clever driving moves helped to narrowly avoid an accident? It’s startling to think about, but it would be even more startling if you were under the influence of marijuana, as you would be less in control of your driving skills.
Count on Safe Designated Drivers to Bring You Home
At Safe Designated Drivers, we believe that our job is not done until we have taken every impaired driver in Vancouver off the road. By using impaired drivers, you don’t have to compromise your social life for the sake of the community’s well-being. Instead, you can enjoy your time responsibly without having to worry about how you will get home that night.