Clown-science study says it links inactive THC to impaired driving


Here’s another government study sure to get some traction in the coming weeks: Scientists with the National Institute of Health say they have found that marijuana can stay in your system for up to a month! (gasp!) But despite the study only testing latent THC levels and never putting the participants behind the wheel of even a simulator, researchers insist that it shows how stoned drivers are a dangerous threat.
Seriously. And people get paid to come up with this bullshit with your tax dollars.

The study took 30 dudes who are daily puffers and locked them in a research facility for over a month, testing their blood daily. The majority still tested positive for THC metabolites after 26 days, some going past 30 days. While that’s neat and all, none of it has anything to do with marijuana and driving. They apparently didn’t even test their skill behind the wheel – which is why the press release we’ve got linking this to impaired driving makes absolutely no fucking sense whatsoever.
See, the study is testing latent blood THC levels, not active THC levels. The difference is huge: active THC is what is actively getting you high when you smoke or ingest herb. Latent, inactive THC has been used up and isn’t psychoactive – it just hangs around in your body getting you in trouble at school, fired from work, and occasionally busted for a DUI even though you weren’t under the influence of anything.
“[The results are] consistent with the time course of persisting neurocognitive impairment reported in recent studies and suggests that establishment of ‘per se’ THC legislation might achieve a reduction in motor vehicle injuries and deaths,” the bullshit release goes on to say. They make a flimsy connection with studies from 2007 and 2009 on illicit drugs including marijuana (but not on marijuana specifically) then assert that cannabis users had a “10-fold” increase in car crash injuries “after adjustment for blood alcohol concentration”.

Dr. Marilyn Huestis.

The kicker is that the press release does mention that current legislation in a number of states establishing a blood-THC driving limits – limits that are based on active THC levels. Washington voters approved a .5 nanogram blood THC limit in November with the passage of Initiative 502, and Colorado legislators are quickly moving through a bill that would set a .5 nanogram limit in that state as well.
It’s things like this that make the rounds as headlines and furthers this ridiculous propaganda war against cannabis. We here at Toke just wanted to nip this in the bud. Basically, they paid a lot of money to have 30 pot smokers sit around and not smoke pot for a month and give blood tests to prove shit we already knew.
That is, everyone but the paper’s author, Dr. Marylin Huestis. “These data have never been obtained previously due to the cost and difficulty of studying chronic daily cannabis smoking over an extended period.” Even she admits that this wasn’t cheap.
It’s pathetic that our money isn’t going to actual viable cannabis research instead of making razor-thin connections to marijuana and increased traffic fatalities using clown science and press releases.