When it comes to impaired driving a study conducted by Fox 31 News in Denver has blurred the lines when the topic is cannabis and blood ng levels.
The DUID Bill presented in Colorado’s legislative session was quite the roller coaster ride as it moved through the committees and houses. At some points it seemed legislation was competing with Elitch Gardens with all the ups and downs, twists and turns.
The bill was defeated during special session on a 17-17 tied vote, with one Senator not present. This Senator’s failure to return for special session is believed to be what killed the bill, as they would have been a deciding vote, and had voted in favor of the bill previously.
This report from Fox 31 News was released just a few days after the DUID bill was killed.
I have pulled some screenshots from the news story to highlight a few points.
First – let’s look at the ng blood levels of the subjects in the study. The subjects were asked to not medicate at all previous to test the day of testing. Blood samples were drawn prior to any testing, and after medicating.
First up – meet “Max”
Now – Max is stated to be a daily user of cannabis for his Psychomotor agitation. As seen in the report from Fox 31 News, Max’s ng blood level for THC was at 6ng prior to any cannabis use for the day.
After medicating – Max’s blood levels for THC went up to 32ng, well over the 5ng level proposed by lawmakers.
Next up is Fran – a 63 year old Fibromyalgia sufferer.
Remarkably – Fran failed her driving test with absolutely no cannabis in her system. The fact that she claims to be a user of cannabis and arrived with product to use, it is quite apparent Fran suffered a placebo effect while driving, and she was actually failed for this test by Officer Ashby. More disturbing is the fact that the product she consumed left her with no cannabis in her system to treat her condition.
Please folks – test your products – and test them regularly. Make a habit of it. The hugest concern is for the patient. As they treat themselves, they need to know they are taking a reliable product that will help them. As more interest is shown to our industry -and trials are conducted – I suspect we will see much more of these type studies. PLEASE test your product.
Patients lives depend on it.
Next is Robert:
Robert – yet another medical cannabis user who passed the driving test. Robert passed his exam even after medicating with a 10ng blood level.
Fox 31 News did a pretty extensive study – and this was actually a two part series. This is the link to the second part – and we will break down the shocking results as we go.
Brian and Justin are the subjects in the next study – comparing driving under the influence of alcohol to marijuana.
Now – Brian clearly failed his exam – and pegged his Blood Alcohol Content at .08. Many studies have been conducted on alcohol and impaired driving. With how alcohol is metabolized in the body, it is much easier to study and have quantified answers.
Justin is the final subject – with the most shocking results.
No age was ever given for Justin – so please forgive that omission. It is not remarkable to myself to see the results of Justin’s first blood ng level. For any chronic pain patient out there I would expect them to be very high. Cancer as well.
Justin started out at 21ng before medicating at all for the day -and went to 47ng post medication.
Yet – he was deemed a good driver – and passed his driving exam with flying colors.
Next – Fox 31 News decided to ensure the driving abilities of both, and as they put it “See if Justin is just a better driver than Brian”. So – Justin imbibed in alcohol and reported a BAC of .04.
This time – when Justin took the driving test – he failed miserably. Alcohol most certainly caused impairment – YET – under Colorado DUI law Justin was still under the .08 BAC limit and would have passed a breathalyzer test. If the 5ng limit were to have been imposed with a DUID law – he would have failed for THC levels, which when he was only under direct influence of cannabis – he passed the driving test with a 47ng blood level.
So – when you mix alcohol and cannabis – is it a fair judgement to state the person is impaired and “guilty” because of the cannabis in their system when even slight amounts of alcohol can completely skew results?
Please keep in mind, cannabis facilitates other drugs within our bodies. Folks who utilize cannabis AND pain medications find they can decrease their pain med intake as the cannabis facilitates the opioids and makes them work better – thus reducing consumption.
Also – did any of these subjects have ANY other medications in their systems? Opioids? Muscle relaxers?
Granted – the Fox 31 News story is not the greatest example of scientific, empirical evidence, but it does bring many issues to light, and exposes many issues in the thought processes of legislators when they try to impose a law with no science behind it.
I stated in an e-mail to Colorado politicians this past session that they should kill the DUID bill and apply to NIDA for funding monies to conduct a truly scientific study funded by NIDA to prove the harm of driving with cannabis in your system. We have to prove harm to get the monies – but it is possible. In Irvin Rosenfeld’s Federal protocol – it is stated he can drive and operate heavy equipment as long as he is not impaired. After years of driving and a few stops as officers smelled cannabis coming from his car – Irvin has never been deemed to be impaired – or been cited with impairment.
Irvin has been smoking cannabis over 40 years. The man should bleed green.
In addition – shouldn’t the Federal government hold some responsibility for helping to determine impairment? A NIDA study could do just that – and the Federal government has the subjects to study as well – if they ever choose to.
There have been Federal medical marijuana patients for 35 years – and the Federal Government has YET to study their own patients.
Please see the poll from Fox 31 News here – and be sure to go vote in the poll. It is located at the bottom of the second story link comparing alcohol and cannabis.
The TV Show “The Dr’s” also did an impaired driving study
I have left this link for people to go look at – but please note – I do not condone utilization of this study for anything other than showing the differences of the studies. In this study by The Dr’s no blood ng levels were drawn – and personally – I take issue with any driving exam that affects a drivers peripheral vision. It’s great to be sitting in a real car – but take out peripheral vision or impair vision in any way – and the test is just not very effective or representative in my mind. I was also very disappointed in The Dr’s for not having a more empirical study. One would figure a show named “The Dr’s” they would want to know what the blood levels are.
Well….that’s my breakdown folks. Please be sure to share this information, write your politicians and encourage them to pursue NIDA monies for a study, and BE SAFE out there! Please do NOT mix alcohol with cannabis – and if you are too impaired to drive – DON’T!
Please feel free to share this post and my e-mail – and save this little kernel for the next time DUID and cannabis comes up. With how Senator King pursued it this session – I can pretty much guarantee this issue will not be going away.