We admit that this headline may seem little misleading as it is not referring to a new ‘rated 18’ computer game in which your objective is to drive from a local dealer’s house to the off license in as quick a time as possible before the ‘feeling the buzz’ life gauge fully depletes.

It is in fact referring to a test conducted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), using a driving simulator to determine whether cannabis or alcohol impairs people’s driving abilities the most out of the two substances.

Drug and Drink Driving Simulator

Using a sophisticated driving simulator in Iowa, USA, researchers tested how well a small group of people drove when under the influence of cannabis and alcohol – both together and individually.

The study place 18 cannabis users behind the wheel after they were given different combinations of marijuana, alcohol or a placebo.

The data revealed that, at certain blood concentrations, cannabis’ active chemical THC affects weaving within a road lane in a similar manner to a blood alcohol level of .08, the legal limit in many American states.

This study was a first of its kind, to make a scientific comparison of the effects of cannabis versus alcohol while driving.

In America, current comparisons between drink and drugs may seem a tad unfair. One of the most extreme examples being in Colorado, where recreational us of cannabis is legal, a first offense for a driver using the substance will be a mandatory minimum sentence of two days in jail.

A first time offender from driving under the influence of alcohol is likely to result in anything up to a year. This seems about as balanced as unicyclist suffering from an ear infection.

Cannabis and Alcohol Combined

The above heading is far from a serving suggestion, as the study also found that cannabis and alcohol have more of an impact on driving when used together. They found that when people drank before smoking, the level of THC in their blood was significantly higher than without alcohol.

Combining the two could prove to be a deadly mixture, as it greatly increases the likelihood of crashing more than either substance by itself. Marilyn Huestis of the NIDA said: “We know cannabis is primarily found with a low dose of alcohol. Many young people have a couple of beers and then cannabis.

“The significantly higher blood THC values with alcohol possibly explain increased performance impairment observed from cannabis-alcohol combinations.”

She added that she hopes the findings will be used for more appropriate legislation regarding drug driving.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

AlphaBiolabs test for a number of substances in our Drug & Alcohol testing including alcohol and cannabis. For a more comprehensive list of which drugs we test for and some more information on each substance please visit our ‘what drugs we test for’ page.

We also provide workplace testing for all forms of sectors, including for safety critical roles, such as those that involve driving. If you require workplace testing then please visit our workplace testing pages or contact 0333 600 1300 or email info@alphabiolabs.co.uk

These contact details can be used to arrange Drug and Alcohol testing or for any other enquiries regarding Drug & Alcohol testing or DNA testing.