Drugs

First of Its Kind Study Finds No Impairment for Weed-Smoking Bicyclists

The researchers didn't test for enjoyment. Too bad.

Photo Credit: Dimitri Naumov

As more and more states legalize the medicinal and recreational use of cannabis, it will inevitably bring challenges to the criminal justice system. As of now, it seems that operating a vehicle under the influence of cannabis is treated the same as operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

However, this is a faulty assumption for the state. As we reported earlier, a pioneering study found virtually no driving impairment under the influence of cannabis. This does not mean that we recommend getting behind the wheel after getting high.

This area of the law is being tested in places like Colorado, where a medical cannabis user was forced to submit to a blood test after a cop pulled her over and suspected she was high. She had indeed medicated earlier, but insisted in court that she drives better when high and was not impaired. The jury believed her and let her go.

For those who prefer to ride a bicycle, there is a new study that should provide them ammunition in the event that a cop feels the need to bring the law down on their head. It is illegal to bicycle while high even in states that have ended cannabis prohibition.

German and Austrian researchers conducted an experiment to test the effect of cannabis on bicycle riding, and they found essentially no impairment.

“Hardly any driving faults occurred under the influence of cannabis. Only a few driving faults were observed even under the influence of very high THC concentrations… On average, there is no increase in the number of demerits after the cannabis consumption.

A defined THC concentration that leads to an inability to ride a bicycle cannot be presented. The test subjects showed only slight distinctive features that can be documented using a medical test routinely run for persons under suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

A maximum of three cannabis cigarettes containing 300 μg THC per kg body weight were given to test subjects who regularly consumed cannabis.

“While cycling the obstacle course, the fourteen participants in the study were given demerits for errors like leaving the track, knocking over barrels, swerving, running a red light and failing to go at a green light. Along the way, they had to slalom between poles and were presented with distractions like balls rolling in their path, verbal interruptions and being subjected to the glare of torch lights.”

The results of this experiment further call into question government’s assumption that operating a vehicle on cannabis is the same as operating on alcohol.