Sometimes people assume that using marijuana is safer than alcohol. This makes sense since in our culture we have been taught to define impairment in physical ways. Basically, if someone isn’t stumbling and staggering then many people would consider them to not be impaired.

But there are two kinds of impairment, mental and physical.

  • For all drugs, including alcohol, mental impairment precedes physical impairment.
  • Mental impairment is subtle, whereas physical impairment is more obvious (stumbling, staggering, slurred speech).
  • Someone can be impaired mentally without it showing physically.
  • Mental impairment means the “directions” given to the physical functions could be wrong.
  • Mental impairment is the causative factor in many crashes, injuries and accidents, even with alcohol.
  • Marijuana use impairs more mental functions than shows physically. Research has shown impairments in key mental functions such as:

  • Memory
  • Reflexes
  • Judgment
  • Attention
  • Cognitive skills
  • Perception
  • These impairments can be present while high, but because marijuana stays in the body longer, they can also linger well past the experience of the high. Depending on how much and how often an individual uses, some impairments can be measured even weeks after last use.


    Marijuana is NOT safe.