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Feds to invest in more research to study effects of cannabis on drivers

Ottawa, ON — The Federal Government announced that Public Safety Canada is providing $919,065 over three years to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to help advance scientific knowledge on the impacts of cannabis on drivers ranging in age from 19 to 45.

This study will use simulated driving to help:

  • Determine how increased levels of THC (the main active ingredient in cannabis) in blood and oral fluid can impact a driver, including his or her ability to anticipate hazards; level of risk-taking behaviour; reaction time; and position and speed on the road.
  • Identify differences that may exist between the ages and genders of drivers, THC levels and driving impairment.

The results of the study will further inform Government of Canada’s policy on cannabis and driving, and public education and awareness material about the dangers of drug-impaired driving. The study will be completed by June 2020.

“Drug-impairment is a serious concern today — it’s a major contributor to fatal road crashes,” said Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. “To combat this potential deadly risk, the government is investing in new training and new tools for law enforcement, strengthening our laws and raising awareness about the dangers of driving while impaired by cannabis. We are also investing in new research to help better understand how cannabis impacts drivers and inform our work to keep our roads safe.”

“While we have known for a long time that cannabis use affects our ability to drive, more in-depth and targeted knowledge is necessary to set limits for blood concentrations of THC. This research will enable us to set such limits, comparable to those which were set for alcohol several decades ago,” stated Professor Bruna Brands, Research Scientist, Health Canada and Collaborating Scientist, CAMH

“One of the key recommendations of the CAMH Cannabis Policy Framework is the need to develop a comprehensive strategy to prevent cannabis-impaired driving. This research is an important component of an evidence-informed approach to prevention, education and enforcement,” added Dr. Catherine Zahn, president and CEO, CAMH.


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