While drug tests are able to tell if a person has recently consumed marijuana, there’s currently no way of measuring if a person is high, something that’s becoming increasingly important as more and more states legalize the drug. But that may be changing.
Researchers at UCLA and ElectraTect, a UCLA startup, are testing a promising “cannabinoid fuel cell.” They believe further testing will provide them with key understandings on marijuana breathalyzers, facilitating their existence at some point in the future. The findings were published in the journal Organics.
Researchers explain that the device they’re working on is able to spot THC and measure its concentration in a solution, unlike previous efforts that measure THC in blood, urine, and saliva. While bodily fluids will show traces of the drug after its use, these results are not indicative of current impairment, especially since THC can linger in the body for days.
“As such, there exists a need for a fair forensic tool capable of detecting THC in the short window of impairment,” wrote the scientists.
Researchers are trying to miniaturize their technology, thus extending its reach and becoming a viable option for testing drivers on the go. The technology could be incorporated into a traditional breathalyzer, resulting in a device that could test for both alcohol and THC in the future.
Late last year, a study from Australia claimed that marijuana breathalyzers were inaccurate, at least the ones that measured THC levels in saliva and blood. As we reported back in January, researchers analyzed 28 studies on driving performance and concentrations of THC in blood and saliva and found the connection between the two inconsistent,” we wrote in January.
A marijuana tool that measures THC impairment is pivotal to having a fair and functioning marijuana legal system. It could help manage and reduce the likelihood of accidents, promoting responsible cannabis use, while ensuring that marijuana users are treated fairly.