Skip to main content

The effect of cannabis on regular cannabis consumers’ ability to ride a bicycle


To assess the effects of cannabis on the ability required to ride a bicycle, repetitive practical cycling tests and medical examinations were carried out before and after inhalative consumption of cannabis. A maximum of three joints with body weight-adapted THC content (300 μg THC per kg body weight) could be consumed by each test subject. Fourteen regular cannabis-consuming test subjects were studied (12 males, 2 females). In summary, only a few driving faults were observed even under the influence of very high THC concentrations. A defined THC concentration that leads to an inability to ride a bicycle cannot be presented. The test subjects showed only slight distinctive features that can be documented using a medical test routinely run for persons under suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6


  1. Federal Highway Research Institute: DRUID project Final report 2012

  2. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: World Drug Report 2014 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.14.XI.7)

  3. Ashton H (2001) Pharmacology and effects of cannabis: a brief review. Br J Psychiatry 178:201–206

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Hartung B, Kauferstein S, Ritz-Timme S, Daldrup T (2014) Sudden unexpected death under acute influence of cannabis. Forensic Sci Int 237:e11–3

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Moskowitz H (1976) Marihuana: effects on simulated driving performance. Accid Anal Prev 8:45–50

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Moskowitz H (1985) Marijuana and driving. Accid Anal Prev 17:323–345

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Kauert GF, Ramaekers JG, Schneider E, Moeller MR, Toennes SW (2007) Pharmacokinetic properties of Δ9-tetrahydrocannbinol in serum and oral fluid. J Anal Toxicol 31:288–293

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Maatz KR (2006) Driving inability after drug use. Blutalkohol 43:451–465

    Google Scholar 

  9. Drasch G, von Meyer L, Roider G, Jaegerhuber A (2003) Absolute driving inability under the influence of cannabis. Proposal Threshold Limit 40:269–286

    Google Scholar 

  10. Ramaekers JG, Berghaus G, van Laar M, Drummer OH (2004) Dose related risk of motor vehicle crashes after cannabis use. Drug Alcohol Depend 73:109–119

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Grotenhermen F, Leson G, Berghaus G, Drummer OH, Krüger H-P, Longo M, Moskowitz H, Perrine B, Ramaekers JG, Smiley A, Tunbridge R (2007) Developing limits for driving under cannabis. Addiction 102:1910–1917

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Hartung B, Mindiashvili N, Maatz R, Schwender H, Roth EH, Ritz-Timme S, Moody J, Malczyk A, Daldrup T (2014) Regarding the fitness to ride a bicycle under the acute influence of alcohol. Int J Legal Med. doi:10.1007/s00414-014-1104-z

  13. Schewe G, Schuster R, Englert L, Ludwig O, Stertmann WA (1980) Experimentelle Untersuchungen zur Frage der alkoholbedingten Fahruntüchtigkeit von Fahrrad- und Mofafahrern. Blutalkohol 17:298–328

    Google Scholar 

  14. Schewe G, Knoess HP, Schaeufele A, Schuster R (1984) Experimentelle Untersuchungen zur Frage der alkoholbedingten Fahruntüchtigkeit bei Fahrradfahrern. Blutalkohol 21:97–109

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Paul LD, Mußhoff F, Untergruppe “Richtlinienerstellung” des Arbeitskreises Qualitätssicherung (2009) Richtlinie der GTFCh zur Qualitätssicherung bei forensisch-toxikologischen Untersuchungen. (last access on 4th November 2015)

  16. Hartung B, Ritz-Timme S, Schwender H, Mindiashvili N, Daldrup T (2015) Differences between male and female cyclists’ performances under the acute influence of alcohol. Int J Legal Med 129(5):1011–1020. doi:10.1007/s00414-015-1182-6

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Hartung B, Schwender H, Mindiashvili N, Ritz-Timme S, Malczyk A, Daldrup T (2015) The effect of alcohol hangover on the ability to ride a bicycle. Int J Legal Med 129(4):751–8. doi:10.1007/s00414-015-1194-2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Robbe HWJ (1994) Influence of marijuana on driving. Institute for human psychopharmacology. University of Limburg, Maastricht

    Google Scholar 

Download references


This study was sponsored by VEGaS e. V. (Verein zur Erforschung der Gefahren durch Drogen und andere Rauschmittel im Straßenverkehr).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Benno Hartung.

Ethics declarations

Ethical standards

The experiments of this study comply with the current German laws. The study protocol was pre-approved by the ethics committee of the University Hospital Düsseldorf.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Hartung, B., Schwender, H., Roth, E.H. et al. The effect of cannabis on regular cannabis consumers’ ability to ride a bicycle. Int J Legal Med 130, 711–721 (2016).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Cannabis
  • THC
  • Bicycle
  • Ability to ride
  • Ability to drive
  • Driving under the influence
  • DUI
  • Cannabis influence factor
  • CIF