Scientists claim that a new pot breathalyzer it’s on its way. A company from Oakland together with scientists from the University of California are developing a new breath test that will measure marijuana drug use on drivers.
Hound Labs stated they have found a new way to test the THC levels (the active component in marijuana) just from exhaled air. The device is portable and will measure the impairment of drivers from recent marijuana use.
This device is meant to replace the present blood, urine and saliva tests that take a lot of time to process and cannot determine if the user smoked pot few hours before or a week ago.
In the USA, 23 states have access to medical use of marijuana and other four states, plus Washington DC., permit recreational use. Even so, marijuana is prohibited under federal law.
Canada’s new Prime Minister Jason Trudeau also promised to allow and make the use of recreational marijuana legal.
Some states, like Montana, Washington and Pennsylvania haven’t reach a common agreement on how much THC is actually harming the psychomotor skills and cognitive function of drivers as there is not enough knowledge on how it affects the driving skills. The first two states have set their limit to 5 nanograms/milliliter, while Penn state is set to 1 nanograms/milliliter.
While the device detects the level of THC in exhaled air, the signs of impairment are still out for debate and cannot be compared to alcohol as if affects the human body differently. Hound Labs also believes that the breath test will be the base for setting new law changes on the limit of THC levels, regarding driving under the influence of cannabis. There are no studies at that moment that correlates the THC levels with impairment.
The downside of the device is that it cannot detect if the person ingested marijuana, a lot of edible cannabis product existing on the market. Researchers say that they are working on creating the technology of detecting this as well.
The company hopes that everything will go well with clinical trials set at the end of Spring and will have its product ready by the end of next year.
Other two companies and a professor – student team are also working on developing a similar breath test.
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