Colorado is just one of two states that has legalized recreational marijuana use. This year, residents and visitors to the Mile High State can purchase, possess, and consume up to an ounce of marijuana-as long as they are over the legal age of 21. Those who are against legalizing marijuana, often cite dangers to the body and the brain, especially in those who regularly consume the drug. Yet now, a new study shows a different perspective on marijuana smoking.
A new study published in the American Surgeon reviewed data on 446 adults with traumatic brain injuries at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. What they found was that one in five patients tested positive for THC (the active ingredient in marijuana). One in 10 patients died from their brain injuries. Of the participants who tested positive for marijuana, only 2.4% died from their brain injuries, compared to 11.5% in those who did not test positive for marijuana use.
The results showed that people who used marijuana were 80% less likely to die from their brain injuries, than those individuals who did not. While other studies have shown that the presence of alcohol protected from brain injuries, this was the first study to show that marijuana use did as well. In fact, the presence of marijuana offered better protection than the presence of alcohol.
Cultural American views of marijuana are shifting. More states are looking to Washington and Colorado as leaders in the movement to legalize marijuana. Already, numerous states have legalized medicinal marijuana and some have even decriminalized marijuana possession.
Marijuana: The Bad
Yet even though marijuana use has some “brain protecting” properties, it is still risky (and against the law) to smoke marijuana and drive. Like alcohol, marijuana slows reaction times and makes it difficult for drivers to correctly interpret situations on the road. In an emergency, a driver who is stoned or high may fail to react appropriately-thus causing a serious or fatal collision.
Since Colorado legalized marijuana, the number of “high” drivers has increased-as have accidents. The number of fatal Colorado car accidents has risen dramatically since 2009 when medical marijuana was legalized. Since 2009, fatal car accidents rose from 4.5% to 10%.
Can You File a Lawsuit Against a High Driver?
If you have been in an accident with a driver that you believe was “high” at the time of the crash, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, and any damages they have caused. Yet proving that the driver was high at the time of the crash can be difficult.
The best thing you can do is to call the police immediately after the accident. Let the police investigate the incident and voice your suspicions. If they believe that the driver was driving impaired, they may arrest him or her for DUI. This can go a long way towards proving your case and obtaining the maximum compensation.
Even if there is no evidence that the driver was legally ‘high’ at the time of the crash, you can still file a personal injury lawsuit if the driver was at fault. An experienced Colorado personal injury attorney can review your case and determine if you have cause to file a claim.
Contact Denver Brain Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love has sustained a brain injury in Denver, the experienced Denver brain injury lawyers at the Denver Trial Lawyers ® will review your case and help you choose the legal path that is best for you and your family.
In a free consultation, an attorney at Denver Trial Lawyeres can inform you of your rights, educate you about the legal process, and discuss how we may be able to obtain compensation for you.