The effects of β-myrcene on simulated driving and divided attention: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover pilot study
Background. β-myrcene, one of the most common terpenes found in cannabis, has been associated with sedation. We propose that β-myrcene contributes to driving impairment even in the absence of cannabinoids. Aim. To conduct a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover pilot study of the effect of β-myrcene on performance on a driving simulator. Method. A small sample (n=10) of participants attended two experimental sessions, one in which they were randomized to receive 15 mg of pure β-myrcene in a capsule versus a canola oil control. Each session, participants completed a baseline block and three follow-up blocks on a STISIM driving simulator. Results. β-myrcene was associated with statistically significant reductions in speed control and increased errors on a divided attention task. Other measures did not approach statistical significance but fit the pattern of results consistent with the hypothesis that β-myrcene impairs simulated driving. Conclusions. This pilot study produced proof-of-principle evidence that the terpene β-myrcene, an agent commonly found in cannabis, can contributes to impairment of driving-related skills. Understanding how compounds other than THC affect driving risk will strengthen the field’s understanding of drugged driving.
Copyright (c) 2022 Mark B. Johnson, Scott McKnight, Eileen P. Taylor, Laszlo Mechtler, Christopher C. Ralyea
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