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Unique Effects of Marijuana on Senior Car Accident Risks

Driving under the influence of marijuana can be dangerous in any age category, but the drug may have a unique impact on the car accident risks of senior drivers.

According to the results of a new study, seniors who smoke marijuana and drive may have their auto accident risks impacted by their drug use. The results of the study were published in the January issue of JAMA Network Open. The study found that seniors who use marijuana may suffer from especially serious effects of the drug due to their declining cognitive skills. In  the study, the researchers found that seniors who were driving under the influence of marijuana began veering in and out of lanes about 30 minutes after using the drug. Irresponsible lane changes can increase your risk of being involved in a car accident.

Marijuana use can affect motor coordination and also affect decision – making abilities.  It can also affect reasoning and memory.  Declining cognitive function in seniors may already exacerbate the effects of the drug, and marijuana use, the researchers say, only compounds the effects of aging – related cognitive declines.  Additionally, seniors are very likely to be  on medications and these medications may also impact their cognitive function and aggravate the effects of marijuana use. For instance, common medications like those that are used to treat cardiovascular problems, hypertension, diabetes and other common problems that can affect seniors could result in side effects when combined with marijuana.

The results of the study are interesting because there has been a theory of thought that for several years has advocated that seniors may be at a much lower risk of impaired driving under the influence of marijuana because  they have developed a tolerance to the drug after years of use.  Many  senior users begin smoking marijuana during their younger years, and this theory holds that the body can build up tolerance to marijuana. This new study, however,  seems to disprove that theory. Smoking marijuana can impact a person’s driving skills regardless of age, and in fact, if anything, older people may be at a higher risk of lowered driving abilities after cannabis use.

The researchers recommend that older drivers avoid using marijuana if they are considering driving a car, regardless of the number of years that they have been using the drug. Senior drivers are already at risk of several physical, mental and cognitive declines that can impact their  driving abilities and auto accident risks.  Adding  drugs to the mix can only result in hazardous consequences.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Katz Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons who have suffered injuries in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across the state of Georgia.  If  you or a loved one have suffered  injuries in a car accident, talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss your legal options for a claim for damages.  You  may qualify for compensation that includes medical expenses, lost income and other types of damages. Talk to a lawyer at our firm and discuss your case.  Initial  consultations are free.



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