Cannabis and motor vehicle crash research gains international attention

Research by Division member Dr. John Staples investigating the risk of motor vehicle crashes after cannabis use during “4/20” celebrations has gained international attention, mentioned in over 100 news outlets worldwide.

The research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, examined 25 years of data from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Dr. Staples and his colleague, Donald Redelmeier (University of Toronto), found a 12 percent higher risk of fatal traffic crashes on April 20 compared to one week earlier and one week later. April 20 is also known as “4/20,” an unofficial holiday where people celebrate cannabis culture.

The risk of getting in a fatal crash was higher for drivers younger than 21-years-old at 38 percent. This overall increase amounted to 142 additional deaths over the 25-year study period.

The research was featured in TIME, Newsweek, The Globe and Mail, The Vancouver Sun, Gizmodo, The Independent (UK), Reuters, and other international media outlets.

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