THURSDAY, Jan. 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The prevalence of driving under the influence of cannabis (DUIC) is high among medical cannabis users with chronic pain, according to a study published online Jan. 9 in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Erin E. Bonar, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan School of Medicine in Ann Arbor, and colleagues recruited 790 adults seeking medical cannabis certification or recertification for moderate/severe pain at Michigan medical cannabis clinics. Participants were surveyed for DUIC (driving within two hours of use, driving while “a little high,” and driving while “very high”) and background factors.

The researchers found that 56.4 percent of the sample reported DUIC within two hours of use during the previous six months, while 50.5 and 21.1 percent reported DUIC while “a little high” and “very high,” respectively. There were correlations for greater cannabis quantity consumed and binge drinking with DUIC behaviors. An association was noted between higher pain and lower likelihood of DUIC.

“In conclusion, these results point to the potential need for interventions to increase medical cannabis patients’ understanding of cannabis-related driving impairment as well as to increase motivation to avoid driving after consumption,” the authors write.

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