Marijuana, Cannabis, Greens, Mary Jane, Cush, Dank, Weed—there are a lot of names for the odd numbered leaved plant that causes a lot of heartache in this country. But with 23 states and the District of Columbia legalizing Marijuana to some degree, it’s becoming more readily accessible, and consumed more frequently. And just like that, drug use now rivals drunk driving as the cause of most fatal car crashes.
While the study conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association included many different drugs, in almost every case studied Marijuana use had been involved, and thus I’ll be focusing on Marijuana.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a preparation of the Cannabis plant, which allows the consumer to inoculate themselves with its main component, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is a mild psychoactive drug, or a chemical substance that changes brain function and results in alterations in perception, mood, or consciousness. Psychoactive drugs may be used recreationally, to purposefully alter one’s consciousness, religiously, to augment the mind, or medicinally, to aid in pain relief.
What are the Effects of THC?
THC is a mild painkiller and relaxer. It does this by altering the transmitters on the ganglion cells in the spinal cord, slowing the transmitting of pain to the receptors in your brain. THC increases appetite, can cause anxiety or elation, stress or relaxation, impairs motor skills, increases sensitivity, alters conscious perception (which some argue allows the user to better appreciate art and music, and causes introspective thinking), and it enhances episodic memory but disrupts linear/short term memory. The most commonly reported side effect of Marijuana usage is anxiety and paranoia.
Driving and THC
While this post is making no comment on the issues of the legality of Marijuana, I would like to point out that it is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to drive under the influence of Marijuana. The reason follows that while operating a vehicle, the driver should be fully conscious and distraction free. Marijuana affects perception, much like alcohol does. Depth, time, spatial recognition all go out the window when an individual is under the influence of THC. Yet people do it, and according to this study, many feel it is safer to drive high than it is to drive drunk, with the majority of this study consisting of younger drivers. We’re here to tell you, it is not safe to drive under the influence of ANY drugs.
While drinking and driving used to be the most common cause of fatal accidents, drug related and distracted driving have begun to creep up, and have nearly become the most common causes of roadside fatality. No matter your opinions on the legalization of Marijuana, we must educate our children against the new menace on the road, driving high. Talk with your children about the importance of finding a designated driver, or not getting into a car with someone who has recently smoked Marijuana. Let your children know you’d rather pick them up than allow them to drive high. While many people feel more relaxed when high, it is that lack of alertness that could cause them to harm themselves or others on the road.
Tom Curcio, the driving force behind Curcio Law, is a dedicated trial lawyer with more than 35 years of experience in Northern Virginia. He has dedicated his career to representing people who have been seriously injured through no fault of their own. He works tirelessly to obtain the compensation his clients are legally entitled to…
Rakin Hamad is a recent graduate of the George Mason Law School and joined Curcio Law as an associate in August 2018. Rakin works closely with Tom Curcio and staff in preparing cases from the initial client meeting through trial and has been a perfect fit for the firm. During law school, Rakin interned at…
Julia Martinez, a Florida native, joined Curcio Law as a paralegal in 2013. She began her legal career in 1998 working at a personal injury firm that primarily handled automobile accidents, slip and falls, and products liability cases. Then, in 2008 she expanded her knowledge by working at two other law firms. She obtained her…
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Maureen Burke was born and raised in the Boston, Massachusetts area and relocated to the Alexandria area in 1984 where she and her husband raised their three children. Maureen graduated with a BS in Nursing from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire and an MS in Nursing from George Mason University. Maureen has worked at…
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