Marijuana carry-over effects on aircraft pilot performance

V. O. Leirer, J. A. Yesavage, D. G. Morrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study finds evidence for 24-h carry-over effects of a moderate social dose of marijuana on a piloting task. In separate sessions, nine currently active pilots smoked one cigarette containing 20 mg of delta 9 THC and one Placebo cigarette. Using an aircraft simulator, pilots flew just before smoking, and 0.25, 4, 8, 24, and 48 h after smoking. Marijuana impaired performance at 0.25, 4, 8, and 24 h after smoking. While seven of the nine pilots showed some degree of impairment at 24 h after smoking, only one reported any awareness of the drug's effects. The results support our preliminary study and suggest that very complex human/machine performance can be impaired as long as 24 h after smoking a moderate social dose of marijuana, and that the user may be unaware of the drug's influence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-227
Number of pages7
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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