Marijuana carry-over effects on aircraft pilot performance

Aviat Space Environ Med. 1991 Mar;62(3):221-7.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aerospace Medicine*
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Dronabinol / blood
  • Dronabinol / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Marijuana Smoking / physiopathology*
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Task Performance and Analysis*


  • Dronabinol