AAA Report: No Scientific Basis for Setting Legal Limits for Marijuana and Driving

AAA Report: No Scientific Basis for Setting Legal Limits for Marijuana and Driving
A new report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concludes there is no scientific basis for setting legal limits for marijuana and driving. These limits are arbitrary and unsupported by science, the group says. States that allow recreational use of marijuana have legal tests for driving while impaired by the drug, the Associated Press reports. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is calling for repeal of those laws. These laws could result in unsafe drivers going free, while others are wrongfully convicted for impaired driving, the group said. In five of the six states that have legalized recreational marijuana, it is presumed a driver is guilty of drugged driving if the person tests higher than the blood-test threshold for THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The foundation is recommending that states replace these laws with measures that would allow specially trained police officers to determine if a driver is...
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Law Enforcement Sees More High-Potency Marijuana, Called “Shatter”

Law Enforcement Sees More High-Potency Marijuana, Called “Shatter”
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in Houston are seeing an increasing amount of a type of high-potency marijuana known as “shatter,” ABC7NY reports. Some forms of shatter have as much as 90 percent THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. That is about five times the potency of unrefined smoked marijuana. It is more powerful than standard hash oil. Shatter is a thin, hard layer that is similar to glass. It can shatter if dropped. The drug, also called wax or 710, is a concentrated form of marijuana oil. “If you’re looking at something that has three, five, seven, or nine percent THC content, that’s a drastic difference to somebody that is consuming something with 80 or 90 percent THC content,” said Wendell Campbell, DEA special agent. Houston DEA agents report an increase in marijuana concentrate seizures in the past year, the article notes. The concentrates are often hidden in beauty...
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Testing Drivers for Evidence of Marijuana Use is Difficult

Testing Drivers for Evidence of Marijuana Use is Difficult
It is very difficult to test whether a driver has been using marijuana. The reason is that the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, THC, dissolves in fat, unlike alcohol, which dissolves in water, experts tell NPR . “It’s really difficult to document drugged driving in a relevant way, [because of] the simple fact that THC is fat soluble,” said Margaret Haney, a neurobiologist at Columbia University. “That makes it absorbed in a very different way and much more difficult to relate behavior to, say, [blood] levels of THC or develop a breathalyzer.” When a person drinks, alcohol spreads through the saliva and breath, and evenly saturates the lungs and blood, the article notes. That means measuring the volume of alcohol in one part of the body reliably indicates how much is in other parts, including the brain. Marilyn Huestis, who headed the chemistry and drug metabolism section at the National Institute...
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High-Potency Marijuana May Damage Nerve Fibers in Brain, Study Suggests

High-Potency Marijuana May Damage Nerve Fibers in Brain, Study Suggests
A new study suggests smoking high-potency marijuana may cause damage to nerve fibers responsible for communication between the brain’s two hemispheres. The study included MRI scans of 99 people, including some who were diagnosed with psychosis, HealthDay reports. The researchers found an association between frequent use of high-potency marijuana and damage to the corpus callosum, which is responsible for communication between the brain’s left and right hemispheres. The corpus callosum is especially rich in cannabinoid receptors. THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, acts on these receptors. Today’s high-potency marijuana has been shown to contain higher proportions of THC compared with a decade ago. Scientists have known that the use of marijuana with higher THC content has been associated with greater risk and earlier onset of psychosis, the researchers noted. This study is the first to examine the effect of marijuana potency on brain structure, according to a news release from...
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