In a bid to reduce the rates of impaired driving as cannabis becomes more accessible, several states have set THC thresholds that bar individuals who have more than a certain amount of THC in their system from driving. The thinking is that, as with alcohol, higher levels of THC in the blood are directly responsible for higher levels of impairment, and establishing a threshold gives law enforcement officials a standard for which they can test to see how impaired an individual is. While it is a noble policy that’s geared towards ensuring safety on the roads, cannabis proponents have long argued that such THC limits are arbitrary and have no scientific backing.
A study funded by the National Institute of Justice (“NIJ”) sought to find the relationship between THC levels and impairment, and the results were quite interesting. After giving basic field sobriety and cognitive tests to 20 individuals who had consumed cannabis, either as edibles or as vapes, the federally funded study found that the amount of THC in an individual’s system could not be used to accurately predict impairment. It’s not in question that consuming cannabis with moderate to high levels of THC will impair your thinking and physical reactions.
Study participants who consumed more than 5mg of THC all experienced observable psychomotor impairment, the RTI International researchers found. However, they concluded that THC levels were not an accurate and reliable indicator of cannabis intoxication in the test participants, regardless of the mode of consumption used orally, smoked or vaped.
Although this is just one study with a limited number of participants, the results provide some evidence in support of what many cannabis proponents have been saying: per se laws limiting THC levels and barring people from driving may not be fully based on scientific evidence.
Paul Armentano, NORML deputy director, isn’t surprised by the study’s findings, saying there is no science backing the per se THC threshold policies being enforced by several states. Additionally, the tests used to determine impairment did not seem to work on any of the study participants, with tests such as standing on one leg, balancing and walking in a straight line being poor indicators of cannabis impairment.
In some cases, the levels of THC, cannabidiol and cannabinol reported by the toxicology tests did not correlate with the observable cognitive and psychomotor impairment. Some study subjects would be highly impaired while tests showed their systems had low THC levels, yet the per se laws in some states would allow these individuals to stay on the road. As such, the researchers concluded that while THC does cause impairment, THC levels in the blood, urine and saliva are not reliable indicators of cannabis intoxication.
These findings from a federally funded study address one of the misconceptions regarding cannabis that the entire industry, including Sonoma Biologics Corp., have encountered at one point or another. Hopefully, more information will become available on how to accurately determine cannabis intoxication among motorists.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Sonoma Biologics Corp. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/Sonoma
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