Currently , nearly 25,000 Australians use medicinal cannabis products. They can be prescribed for the treatment of symptoms and discomfort associated with some chronic conditions for nausea caused by chemotherapy or during palliative care.
In Australia, it’s a misdemeanour for anyone to drive if they use Tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC, key psychoactive ingredient of cannabis) medicinal cannabis items. If they kill another person in a car accident, they will be charged with driving when they are impaired.
If taken on a roadside survey, they will be prosecuted in the same manner as those testing positive for illegal substances. But this could soon change in Victoria. A legislative bill to regulate medical cannabis patients as those who use other prescription medications rather than illicit drug users is being sponsored.
As a rule, you are not allowed to drive on medicine. It will be appropriate to treat medicinal cannabis consumers as people who use legal medicinal goods.
We must also assess any possible threats, however. Driving a car is a complex job, and a driver must be conscious, professional, and willing.
Cannabis is a complex correlation with driving impairs
How much cannabis might affect a person’s safe driving ability also depends upon how much they’re eaten, how long they wait for driving, the intensity of psychoactive components and the age and/or experience of the driver.
Drivers with elevated levels of THC have moderately increased the chances of being in charge of an accident causing injury or death compared to drug-free drivers.
High-THC cannabis often decreases the capacity of a driver to monitor or respond to unpredictable circumstances. The greater the amount of THC in your system, the greater the disorder. This also affects the driver’s focus. On the other hand , some studies indicated that THC has a low to no impact on the risk of an accident.
The illicit drugs vary in medicinal cannabis
Medicinal cannabis usually contains a lot less of the THC and more of the non-“high “(cannabidiol or CBD) components. CBD’s moody, perception, emotions, feelings and actions are much less influenced in comparison with THC.
Australian cannabis drugs are most often just CBD products.
It is not clear how only CBD therapies can influence driving, even though several studies are underway. As it stands, CBD-only patients can drive legally, provided that they are not disabled.
Occasionally, CBD / THC-balanced or THC-dominant medicinal marijuana drugs. As much as THC is present in medicinal cannabis may affect the ability of a person to drive safely. This intoxicating effect is not reversed by CBD.
Law enforcement checking by roadside testing
THC is a regulated Schedule 8 drug in Australia in compliance with the Poisons Standard. Victoria has a controlled substance policy on zero tolerance. It now contains THC-containing medicinal cannabis products.
Drivers on the roadside are tested by a saliva test for cannabis (THC), (meth)amphetamine or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). Drivers that produce positive results are tested in order to confirm how much the substance is present (an extra analysis of a sample sent to a laboratory).
A six-month suspension of licence and a fine is the lowest punishment for the positive result for THC. Drivers still have a training curriculum to complete. In other nations, the method is identical. Roadside monitoring can not identify or assess the concentration of THC between illicit recreational and medicated cannabis products. So legally prescribed THC drugs can also be followed up in the same way as a driver, who for a non-medical purpose has taken a higher THC dose.
The way forward
As many as 1 in 3 Australian cannabis users drive within three hours of their treatment. Some drugs with THC can be identified more than four hours after use in roadside pharmaceutical tests, so it is possible to charge patients driving through this window. It is necessary to determine which (if any) legislative changes will be appropriate if patients who are using medical cannabis products pose a danger to themselves or other road users. We need further study to shift to a structure like Canada or the United States.
A conditional licence can be a way to help those who are using medicinal cannabis drive legally and safely, subject to periodic examination. A central registry could help law enforcement officers and health care providers easily determine whether a driver is taking medication, at what dosage and for how long.
As for other (but not legal) drugs, it may be a simple way to help patients know better if they feel well enough to drive when they take these medical items with compulsory driving hazard warning labels. It is necessary to promote the rights of patients who use these drugs and continue to drive them, while also ensuring the safety of all road users through greater access to a wider variety of medicinal cannabis. In future decisions, fair participation of patient defenders, study groups, road safety and compliance groups must be included.