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Epidemiol Rev. 2012;34:65-72. doi: 10.1093/epirev/mxr017. Epub 2011 Oct 4.

Marijuana use and motor vehicle crashes.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10032, USA.


Since 1996, 16 states and the District of Columbia in the United States have enacted legislation to decriminalize marijuana for medical use. Although marijuana is the most commonly detected nonalcohol drug in drivers, its role in crash causation remains unsettled. To assess the association between marijuana use and crash risk, the authors performed a meta-analysis of 9 epidemiologic studies published in English in the past 2 decades identified through a systematic search of bibliographic databases. Estimated odds ratios relating marijuana use to crash risk reported in these studies ranged from 0.85 to 7.16. Pooled analysis based on the random-effects model yielded a summary odds ratio of 2.66 (95% confidence interval: 2.07, 3.41). Analysis of individual studies indicated that the heightened risk of crash involvement associated with marijuana use persisted after adjustment for confounding variables and that the risk of crash involvement increased in a dose-response fashion with the concentration of 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol detected in the urine and the frequency of self-reported marijuana use. The results of this meta-analysis suggest that marijuana use by drivers is associated with a significantly increased risk of being involved in motor vehicle crashes.

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