No, smoking marijuana will not dilate the pupils of your eyes. This is one key difference between drivers who are drunk and who are high from cannabis. However, there are a select few drugs that can dilate your pupils, similar to the way alcohol can, including:
- Crystal meth
It is important to know marijuana’s effects on your body before you decide to inhale, consume, or smoke it. Nothing in this article should be taken as an endorsement of the use of illegal narcotics or alcohol or the misuse of prescription medications.
It is also important to know that you should never get behind the wheel if you are high on marijuana. However, If you do get charged with a DUI, a DUI attorney can help uphold your civil rights and provide the best defense.
What Are the Effects of Marijuana on Your Eyes?
The use of marijuana is known to usually cause red or bloodshot eyes. This is not always the case, but more often than not, it will have this effect rather than dilating your pupils. The Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in cannabis can lower your blood pressure, which causes your blood vessels to dilate, leaving your eyes red and bloodshot.
Some people believe that cannabis use actually decreases your pupil size to look like a pinpoint. This is not true. However, there are other drugs that can have this effect on the user’s eyes, including:
- Morphine (painkillers)
Being high on any one of these drugs while driving is grounds for a DUI charge. Do not try and operate a vehicle while under the influence of any of these drugs. The best way to avoid being charged with and sentenced for a DUI is to not even get behind the wheel when high in the first place.
What Are the Short-Term Effects of Cannabis?
There are quite a few other effects that marijuana has on the body, along with bloodshot eyes. These other physical and psychological effects of cannabis include:
- Altered vision (mostly seeing colors brighter)
- Altered perception of time
- Mood swings
- Increased heart rate
- Impaired body movement (move slower and more lethargically)
- Impaired memory
- Difficulty with problem-solving
- Slower breathing (and deeper breaths)
- Nausea and vomiting (with high doses)
- Hallucinations (with high doses)
- Delusions (with high doses)
- Psychosis (with high doses)
Experiencing any of these physical and psychological effects prevents you from being able to safely operate a motor vehicle. This is why there are DUI laws in most states, including California, prohibiting people from driving while impaired by marijuana.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Cannabis?
Many people believe that there are no lasting effects from smoking weed regularly like how there are from drinking alcohol. However, that is not the case. There are a handful of long-term problematic effects of consuming, inhaling, and smoking marijuana.
Routinely getting high from cannabis can be a detriment to your brain function. It can ruin the memory, problem-solving, and learning processes in your brain. Not to mention the damage to your lungs, similar to smoking cigarettes, if you are inhaling marijuana repeatedly.
How Long Does It Take for the Psychoactive Effects to Subside?
Knowing when it is safe and smart to be able to get behind the wheel after being high on marijuana can be quite tricky. This is because the psychoactive effects from weed can take different amounts of time to wear off, depending on how you got high from it. This can come as a shock to most people because they would not have imagined that how you get high from marijuana matters in any regard.
How you get high does indeed matter because THC will enter your bloodstream at different times. Getting high from directly inhaling marijuana means that the THC will enter your bloodstream much faster (5 to 10 minutes). In turn, the effects of your high will wear off faster. It will usually take only 3 to 4 hours for the effects to completely subside.
Consuming cannabis in the form of an edible means takes the longest for the THC to enter your bloodstream. This means that the effects from high will not wear off for much longer (6 to 7 hours). It should be noted that there is a chance for THC to still be detected in your bloodstream even a week after initially getting high, however, you will not feel the psychoactive effects of weed a week later.
How Do They Test for a Marijuana DUI?
Similar to how police officers determine a DUI for illegal alcohol consumption while operating a vehicle, they will use a series of field sobriety tests to draw a conclusion on your sobriety from marijuana. The three major field sobriety tests are:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
- Walk and Turn Test
- One Leg Stand Test
These standardized exercises test the effects of intoxication rather than the actual intoxication itself. Since the physical and psychoactive effects of getting high from marijuana can be quite similar to getting drunk from alcohol, they use the same field sobriety tests. You will be arrested if the officer believes beyond reasonable doubt that you were impaired while driving the motor vehicle.
There are also tests that can be done once the suspect has arrived at the police station that can better determine the actual amount of intoxication. These tests typically include a blood and urine sample. It is important to understand that there is no law requiring you to incriminate yourself by obliging you to perform these field sobriety tests. Do not agree to participate in a field sobriety test if you have been driving while high on marijuana.
Should You Hire DUI Lawyer for Marijuana-Related Charges?
Yes, hiring a criminal defense attorney who specializes in DUI charges would be your best plan of action. It does not matter if you were charged with alcohol intoxication or marijuana intoxication. Having a DUI lawyer defend you is a wise decision. They can help to ensure that your civil rights are not infringed upon by the prosecution or the judge.
Experienced DUI attorneys intend on either getting you off the hook or having penalties minimized as much as possible. To do this, they will gather evidence, requests additional tests of your blood and urine, consult with experts and witnesses, and disprove the prosecution’s evidence as either misleading or illegally obtained.