Cannabis and driving: The situation in Europe

Département de Biologie Clinique, de Microbiologie et d'Immunologie, Université de Gand, Gand, Belgique.
Annales Pharmaceutiques Françaises 06/2006; 64(3):197-203.
Source: PubMed


In Europe, three million people consume cannabis every day. Investigations showed that more than two thirds of drug users drive after having smoked cannabis. Epidemiological studies show that between 0.5% and 8.2% of the general driving population is positive for cannabis. For drivers wounded or deceased as a result of an accident, the percentage varies respectively from 3.3% to 10% and from 2.2% to 8.4%. Finally, very high percentages are found in the studies which analysed the presence of drugs in drivers suspected of driving under the influence of drugs: more than 50% in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Six European countries adopted an analytical or 'per se' legislation and the cut-offs vary between 0.3 and 2 ng/mL THC. In the Netherlands, experimental studies carried out after administration of cannabis clearly showed the impairing effects, in particular in the event of simultaneous consumption of cannabis and alcohol. Various research projects financed by the European Union studied the epidemiologic aspects (IMMORTAL), detection by psychotechnical tests (CERTIFIED) and roadside drug detection (ROSITA and ROSITA-2).

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    • "The question that often arises in traffic accident cases is whether or not a driver was driving under the influence of cannabis (DUIC) or whether it is possible to determine the relationship between blood THC concentration and driver impairment. Various recent projects have been financed by the European Union, particularly because it has been determined that more than two thirds of drug users in Europe drive after having smoked cannabis (Raes and Verstraete 2006). Recent data suggest that drivers with a measur- able 9 -THC concentration (>1 ng/ml) have an elevated crash risk (Ramaekers et al. 2002; Mura et al. 2003; Drummer et al. 2004). "
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    Full-text · Article · May 2007 · International Journal of Toxicology
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