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New problems from marijuana legalization put states in awkward position
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New problems from marijuana legalization put states in awkward position


TEXAS – October 24, 2018

According to a recent National Transportation Safety Board report, a 20-year-old man who was under the influence of marijuana and sedatives was responsible for a traffic accident in March 2017.

"The pick-up truck driver in this crash made terrible choices with tragic consequences," National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt said in a statement. "But the rising tide of drug-impaired driving did not begin with this driver, and it will not end with him. Law enforcement needs additional tools and advanced training to detect impaired drivers before they crash, regardless of the impairing drug they're using."

The board also noted that this year there were at least 5 incidents on the road before the legalization of marijuana, and almost 10 after. According to board representatives, the problem is gaining momentum, and something must be done about it.

Earlier, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Highway Loss Data Institute published other data, according to which the legalization of recreational marijuana has not increased the number of accidents involving fatalities, though states that have legalized recreational use are seeing more car crashes overall.

The same data was presented at the Combating Alcohol- and Drug-Impaired Driving summit at the insurance institute's Vehicle Research Center.

The first study found that crashes are up as much as 6% in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, compared with neighboring states that haven't legalized recreational marijuana use. Researchers estimated the frequency of collision claims per insured vehicle year, controlling for differences in other factors that could contribute to an accident, including age, location, job status, and weather, and still saw an increase.

The second study looked at the number of police-reported accidents before and after the legalization of recreational marijuana use. The findings were similar: a 5.2% increase in crash rates after legalization.

Other research has found that in a small sample of drivers who used marijuana before driving, they had slower thinking and perceptual skills. Drivers under the influence of marijuanatended to weave more when tested in simulators, studies show, although scientists say more research needs to be done to better understand the correlation between blood or oral fluid concentrations and psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

In addition, the National Transportation Safety Board has now officially stated that the police need better training to detect such cases. Also, the Ministry stressed the need to supply the police with the necessary tools.

It also encouraged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to come up with a system of best practices and model specifications for oral fluid drug screening devices that police can use when they pull someone over.

There are no national standards or standardized tests for marijuana-impaired drivers like there are for alcohol. The tests designed to determine whether someone is driving drunk are only moderately successful in determining that someone is impaired from using marijuana, studies have shown.

About 6 in 10 Americans support marijuana legalization, an October poll found, and thus more states will probably legalizeits recreational use, meaning there will probably be more drivers on the road under the influence.

Cannabinoids is perhaps one of the most controversial drug groups of our time. Its effects on the body and the relative absence of serious side effects cause controversy over marijuana legalization in many countries around the world. In particular, the United States recently faced almost complete legalization of the drug. Marijuana often appears in films, songs are dedicated to it, and it is huge in internet culture. But what makes marijuana and other cannabinoids so popular?

Cannabinoids usually enter the body by smoking joints, but it is also possible for them to enter through the gastrointestinal tract, or by direct IV, then spreading throughout the body, acting on various organs and tissues. Cannabinoids gather in large amounts in tissues with good vascularization, such as the liver, heart, lungs, small intestine, kidneys, and spleen, as well as in fat, mammary glands, placenta, etc. Only 1% of the total number of cannabinoids gets into the brain and affect it. Cannabinoids have a calming effect, and ehance the sensitivity of the sensory systems. In case of overdose, anxiety and panic attacks are possible, as well as an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Regular cannabinoid use can lead to addiction.

Cannabinoids have a long-lasting effect on cognitive function and the immune system. In medical practice, cannabinoids are used for anesthesia, muscle relaxation, immunosuppression, as sedatives, to improve mood, stimulate appetite, as an antiemetic, reduce intravascular pressure, bronchodilation, as a neuroprotector, and as an inducer of cancer cell apoptosis; in general, cannabinoids have extraordinary capabilities and an extraordinary breadth of action.

The effects of cannabinoids are quite varied and can be divided according to the organ system:

• Psyche and perception: fatigue, euphoria, improved mood, anxiety or its reduction, depersonalization, increased sensitivity of sensory systems, hallucinations, impaired perception of time, sleep.

• Cognitive function and psychomotor performance: fragmented thinking, enhancing creative abilities, impaired memory, unsteady gait, ataxia (impaired coordination of movements), slow speech, weakness.

• Body temperature: decrease.

• Cardiovascular system: tachycardia, increased heart activity, increased myocardial oxygen consumption, orthostatic hypotension, hypertension (especially in the horizontal position, reduced blood clotting.

• Eyes: redness of the conjunctiva, decrease in lacrimation, decrease in intraocular pressure.

• GIT: reduced salivation, dry mouth, decreased intestinal motility and delayed gastric emptying.

• Hormonal system: affects luteinizing, follicle stimulating hormones, testosterone, prolactin, somatotropin, thyroid stimulating hormone, glucose metabolism, reduces the number and mobility of sperm in the sperm, disrupts the menstrual cycle, delays ovulation.

• Immune system: disorders of cellular and humoral immunity, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects.

• Effect on genetic material: antineoplastic action, suppression of DNA, RNA and protein synthesis.

Cannabinoid intoxication is described as a pleasant and relaxing experience. The user becomes more talkative and smiles more. Sometimes there can be anxiety or even panic. These two states can alternate. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) enhances the sense of taste and attractiveness of human food. They also induce sleep. All hemp derivatives and synthetic cannabinoids are able to reproduce these effects.

Strong intoxication with cannabinoids leads to the disruption of learning and memory processes, and adversely affects cognitive functions and psychomotor activity. There is a "slowdown" of all bodily reactions.

People can be divided into several groups depending on how they are affected by cannabinoids: emotional (euphoria, often laughing), sensitive (increased sensitivity to external stimuli and bodily sensations), somatic (feel that their bodies are swimming or drowning in bed) and cognitive (violation of the sense of perception of time, memory lapses, concentration disorders).

The well-known effect of redness of the eyes is due to the fact that the cannabinoids cause vasodilatation of the conjunctiva, which increases their volume and thus causes redness.

The greatest effect of cannabinoids during smoking or intravenous administration is achieved 20-30 minutes after consumption and lasts about 3-4 hours.

Thus, having analyzed the effect of the drug on the human body, we see that the main effect is relaxation and a desire to sleep. Therefore, it is clear that the person under the influence can simply fall asleep at the wheel or immerse themselves in their thoughts, far from reality.

We can ask again: Did it make sense to legalize marijuana if the consequences are unpredictable? What can states do to avoid things like traffic accidents?

Author: USA Really