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Drivers impaired for hours after inhaling cannabis

With year-end festivities imminent in British Columbia, many people focus on fun and push safety to the back burner. Unfortunately, one person’s disregard for safety could cause another one’s death. For example, if an individual chooses to share a friend’s cannabis at a house party and then drives home. Cannabis users may not realize that their driving abilities will remain impaired for up to five hours after using the drug.

Why driving and cannabis should not be mixed

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the active ingredient in cannabis. It travels through the users’ bodies and into their brains, impairing their ability to drive safely. The effects of different cannabis types vary among individuals. The dose and individual tolerance and the user’s body composition and size all affect how high they get. Regardless, impaired driving is against the law.

How does cannabis affect a driver?

There are still many unknowns about the length of time ingested cannabis compromises driving ability. According to authorities, cannabis doubles the crash risks, regardless of whether it was inhaled or ingested. THC in cannabis typically adversely affects the following cognitive skills.

  • Concentration
  • Coordination
  • Attention
  • Reaction time
  • Ability to judge distances
  • Decision-making abilities


A significant percentage of drivers in British Columbia believe they are more alert and better drivers after smoking or eating cannabis products. Surveys have determined that millennials are more likely to arrange designated drivers than other age groups. Sadly, when impaired drivers’ negligence causes car accidents, people in other vehicles or pedestrians are often injured or killed. With the opening of the Canada-U.S. border, crashes could occur while British Columbia drivers are in Seattle or Seattle residents are visiting Vancouver. Cross-border personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits are typically more complicated because they involve the laws of both Canada and the United States.