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Home > Determining the magnitude and duration of acute Δ-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-THC)-induced driving and cognitive impairment: a systematic and meta-analytic review.

McCartney, Danielle and Arkell, Thomas R and Irwin, Christopher and McGregor, Iain S (2021) Determining the magnitude and duration of acute Δ-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-THC)-induced driving and cognitive impairment: a systematic and meta-analytic review. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 126, pp. 175-193. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.01.003.

External website: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/...

The increasing legal availability of cannabis has important implications for road safety. This systematic review characterised the acute effects of Δ-THC on driving performance and driving-related cognitive skills, with a particular focus on the duration of Δ-THC-induced impairment. Eighty publications and 1534 outcomes were reviewed. Several measures of driving performance and driving-related cognitive skills (e.g. lateral control, tracking, divided attention) demonstrated impairment in meta-analyses of "peak" Δ-THC effects (p's<0.05). Multiple meta-regression analyses further found that regular cannabis users experianced less impairment than 'other' (mostly occasional) cannabis users (p = 0.003) and that the magnitude of oral (n = 243 effect estimates [EE]) and inhaled (n = 481 EEs) Δ-THC-induced impairment depended on various factors (dose, post-treatment time interval, the performance domain (skill) assessed) in other cannabis users (p's<0.05). The latter model predicted that most driving-related cognitive skills would 'recover' (Hedges' g=-0.25) within ∼5-hs (and almost all within ∼7-hs) of inhaling 20 mg of Δ-THC; oral Δ-THC-induced impairment may take longer to subside. These results suggest individuals should wait at least 5 -hs following inhaled cannabis use before performing safety-sensitive tasks.


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