So What? Study says more Colorado drivers in fatal crashes positive for pot

bbg_view18__01__970-630x420A couple of things to note about this article:

In the first study, they don’t specify what type of test was used, but from the results, I suspect it was urinalysis which, when it comes to marijuana, shows no relationship to impairment. And in a state that has legalized adult-use marijuana, wouldn’t you expect an increase in positive results? At least the authors of the study admit this. What they don’t tell you is that traffic fatalities are down in Colorado.

In the second study, they assume that a reduction in “perceived risk” is a bad thing. In comparison to other substances like alcohol, this change may turn out to be a good thing as the public turns away from more dangerous substances to something safer: cannabis.

But what can we expect from  Dr. Christian Thurstone, one of the authors of these studies, and a member of Smart Colorado and Project SAM? Is it any surprise that they would use this to promote policies that would bring them more clients and more money?

Leave it to the Denver Post to perpetuate the fear-mongering while glossing over the reality which is that these studies show nothing.

Two new University of Colorado studies paint an ominous picture of the direction of the state since marijuana commercialization, but neither provides conclusive evidence that legal pot is causing harm.

One study shows more drivers involved in fatal car accidents in Colorado are testing positive for marijuana — and that Colorado has a higher percentage of such drivers testing positive for pot than other states even when controlled for several variables. But the data the researchers use does not reveal whether those drivers were impaired at the time of the crash or whether they were at fault.

“The primary result of this study may simply reflect a general increase in marijuana use during this … time period in Colorado,” the study’s authors write.

The other study shows that perceptions of marijuana’s risk have decreased across all age groups with the boom in marijuana businesses in the state. The study also finds that near-daily marijuana use among adults increased significantly starting in 2009, relative to states without medical marijuana laws. But the study’s authors acknowledge that they cannot show Colorado’s marijuana laws are the reason for the shifts in attitudes and use.

“Even though causality cannot be established, Colorado would be wise to implement prevention efforts regarding marijuana and make treatment for those with marijuana use disorders more broadly available,” the study concludes.

Please continue reading: More Colorado drivers in fatal crashes positive for pot, study says – The Denver Post.

Categories: Children, Teens & Youth, Colorado, Driving, Policy & Politics, Research, Stats

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4 replies

  1. When I am mistaken, I admit it. And I may be mistaken in my assumption that the tests were of urine. It’s been brought to my attention, and rightly so, that the bladder empties upon death. (If I had thought about it, I would have realized that.) So it is unlikely they are testing urine, but are testing blood. No matter. THC can stay in the bloodstream for days or weeks after consumption. So I still stand by my position that simply testing positive for THC, whether blood or urine, means nothing.


  2. This study used the federal FARS data, which does not assign a unique code to active THC vs inactive THC metabolites. It is simply impossible to make any conclusion about impairment from these data. The good news is that after increasing in 2009 – 2011, the number of THC positive drivers declined sharply in 2012, after the study period, from 52 of 587 drivers in 2011, to 34 of 630 drivers in 2012.


  3. they also dont tell you that were tested for alchol also which was over the limit to test



  1. [News article] Marijuana use involved in more fatal accidents since commercialization of medical marijuana « Health and Medical News and Resources

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