University of Colorado to research marijuana use and DUIs

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The school will pay participants to consume

Marijuana opponents have repeatedly tried to argue that the plant should be banned because it prevents a safety hazard. They assert that consuming marijuana and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is dangerous – most likely making their assertions while sipping on a scotch and soda. Researchers at the University of Colorado are preparing to study exactly how dangerous it is to mix marijuana and driving and will even pay participants to consume.

The university’s School of Public Health is recruiting individuals to participate in the study, which will see the subjects consume while playing a hand-eye coordination game on an iPad. According to the school’s assistant professor, Ashley Brooks-Russell, who is leading the study with Associate Clinical Professor and Medical Toxicologist Michael Kosnett, “The goal is to better understand impaired driving so that we can prevent impaired driving.”

Kosnett adds, “We know that certain drugs really deteriorate people’s performance behind the wheel. Alcohol is a classic example of that. Our understanding of how cannabis affects driving is less well developed.”

The study is looking for marijuana users of all types – habitual, occasional or infrequent – that are licensed to drive in the state. The project will require two in-person visits, one for a 90-minute screening and another for a 4-hour study. The participants will need to agree to have their blood drawn up to two times and to maintain a diary between each of the visits, which is designed to track the use of medication, alcohol and cannabis throughout the project. They will also have to submit to a urine test and a breathalyzer in each of the two visits.

The first visit pays $20 and the second, upon confirmed completion of the study, pays $120.