Quick hit: Driving on 4/20

Some recent highlights and curiosities from the amazing world of cannabis science and therapeutics.
By Adrian Devitt-Lee On February 20, 2019
stop sign and crossing guard

Driving accidents cause about 60,000 deaths in the US each year, and nearly all of these are due to driver errors. Regulators are still trying to understand the risks associated with driving while high. Canadian epidemiologist recently analyzed data from the stoner holiday 4/20, finding that there was up to a 12% increase in the number of fatal accidents that that day. This is within typical daily variations, suggesting that, if there is an increase in crash risk, it is small. The study aligns with a recent meta-analysis from Norwegian epidemiologist Ole Rogeberg, which deconstructs how the metrics used in traffic research exaggerate the danger of cannabis. The average person who gets high on cannabis before driving appears to have a 30% increase in the likelihood of crashing. (By comparison, driving with a passenger increases the crash risk by 60%, twice as much as cannabis.) Any increase in crash risk should be factored into regulations on cannabis, but fear about cannabis and driving seem to be more motivated by a political ideology of criminalizing cannabis use rather than genuine concerns for safety.

Short description: 
Adrian Devitt-Lee, a Project CBD contributing writer, is a graduate from Tufts University with a degree in mathematics and chemistry.