Are you using Cannabis?

Using Cannabis and the Police

Testing whether an individual has been using Cannabis is very simple and doesn’t need the skills of a doctor. Common screening tests urine or saliva which can be carried out anywhere, are cheap and give an instant result.

Other more sophisticated testing methods include hair, this method can give an idea of use for up to two years (obviously dependent on the length of the hair) but does require laboratory analysis and is therefore more expensive.

Whilst these methods can determine the presence of cannabis, they cannot determine the level of usage. Also, the tests cannot show whether the person is actually under the influence of the cannabis, only that they have used it within certain timescales.

Cannabis is excreted quite slowly from the body which means that a positive test for cannabis could confirm use which was days or weeks ago. Beware, this can be a useful for those doing the test who only require to prove usage rather than under the influence.

Testing and the Police

So, it’s no surprise that taking cannabis can reduce powers of concentration, coordination and alter the perception of distance and time although this is not always noticeable until faced with an unexpected situation.

The police will test for cannabis to try and determine whether somebody is fit to drive and this can be carried out at the roadside. Whilst the test can determine usage, as it can’t determine when the cannabis was used a standard impairment test would need to be undertaken. A blood sample may also be taken for future detailed analysis subject to certain criteria.

Best advice is to avoid driving if you have recently used cannabis and feel you may be still under its influence. You may be putting your own safety and the safety of others at risk if you drive if you are affected by the use of cannabis.

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