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“I Drive Better When I’m High.” You Sure About That?

Suppose you smoke marijuana in Colorado or know someone who does. You may have heard something like this before: “I actually drive better when I’m high.” There are plenty of reasons people might think this – for some individuals, marijuana induces light paranoia, which may make them more cautious on the road. Others may even cite studies showing that driving high is much less dangerous than driving drunk. While there may be some truth to these claims, it’s crucial to understand the complexities surrounding drugged driving.

Understanding the Studies on Drugged Driving

The debate over the safety of driving under the influence of marijuana has gained momentum in recent years, particularly in states like Colorado, where marijuana use is legal. Many people wonder if the common belief that they can drive better while high is genuine or merely a misconception.

One notable study conducted in 2000 and published in *Human Psychopharmacology* aimed to shed light on this issue. Researchers divided test subjects into four groups: those who received a placebo, those who were under the influence of marijuana, those who were intoxicated with alcohol, and those who were both high and drunk simultaneously (the mystery of the placebo’s role in this scenario remains unsolved). These participants were then placed on a driving course with an instructor while being monitored via electronic devices. The study’s primary objective was to measure how alcohol, marijuana, and the combination of both affected the standard deviation of lateral position (SDLP), which essentially assesses a driver’s weaving, swerving, and overcorrecting tendencies.

The study’s results were consistent with expectations. Those who were under the influence of alcohol performed poorly, with impaired driving skills evident. The group that combined marijuana and alcohol exhibited even worse driving behavior. In contrast, those who had consumed marijuana showed some impairment but performed better than the alcohol-intoxicated group.

Individual Variations in Impairment

So, are individuals who claim they drive better when high completely mistaken? Not necessarily. The response to marijuana use varies from one person to another. While some may experience heightened anxiety and paranoia, which may encourage more cautious driving, others might become more alert and attentive. However, it’s crucial to understand that marijuana can indeed lead to impairment, and driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal, regardless of personal perceptions.

It’s important to acknowledge that marijuana’s effects on driving abilities are not universal. Some individuals may feel more in control, but this perception might not align with their driving performance. Driving under the influence of any substance, whether alcohol or marijuana, poses risks to the driver, passengers, and others on the road. Prioritizing safety, following the law, and seeking alternative transportation options when impaired are responsible choices that protect your well-being and the protection of others on the road.

Legal Implications of Driving Under the Influence

In Colorado, as in many other states, driving under the influence of marijuana is a criminal offense. The legal limit for THC concentration in the blood is five nanograms per milliliter, which mirrors the threshold for alcohol intoxication. Law enforcement agencies employ various methods to detect impaired drivers, including field sobriety and blood tests.

Individuals who are caught driving under the influence of marijuana can face severe consequences, including fines, license suspension, mandatory drug education programs, and even jail time, especially in cases involving accidents or injuries. Moreover, a conviction for drugged driving can have long-lasting effects on one’s criminal record and may lead to increased insurance premiums.


In conclusion, while some individuals may believe they drive better when high, it’s essential to recognize that marijuana can impair driving abilities and that driving under the influence is both illegal and unsafe. Prioritizing safety, following the law, and seeking alternative transportation options when impaired are responsible choices that protect your well-being and the protection of others on the road.

For legal guidance and defense-related to alcohol and drug-related driving offenses in Colorado, it’s advisable to consult with experienced attorneys who specialize in DUI and drugged driving cases. One such reputable firm is Thomas & Ahnell, LLC Law Firm, which has the expertise to protect your rights and provide effective legal representation. Remember that responsible choices and legal compliance contribute to safer roads and communities for everyone.

Do you have further questions or concerns? Call us or contact the attorneys at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, and we will be happy to help.

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