Jun 21, 2016 9:15 AM

First Functional Breathalyzer to Regulate Marijuana Use

An essential aspect of recreational marijuana legalization is for the state to provide safety regulations. These regulations have to be introduced to make sure that the new status of cannabis does not lead to grievous consequences. Among those consequences is driving under the influence.

While it is generally known that driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs is illegal, the legalization of marijuana should not bring the idea that now you can smoke everywhere you want, even in a car. Being a psychoactive drug, marijuana is dangerous for drivers. That is why a method to detect whether a driver is high or not becomes necessary.

Right now, the creation of a functional cannabis breathalyzer is an important task that many scientists are working on. For example, one of the first projects was introduced by Mina Hoorfar, who developed an inexpensive and sensitive breathalyzer.

Innovative Cannabis Breathalyzer May Cost Only $15
Innovative Cannabis Breathalyzer May Cost Only $15
Stoned drivers are potentially dangerous to other people on the roads, and scientists are now considering the ways to maintain road safety.

The challenge of creating the first cannabis breathalyzer was also accepted by Herb Hill, a professor at Washington State University. Mr. Hill is a person with a lot of experience in chemical detection methods. In seems that he worked with everything from military bombs to simple mold. Currently, the professor is interested in perfecting a marijuana components detection method. Being his last challenge before the retirement, cannabis breathalyzer is doomed to be a success. Herb Hill says that this project is important and interesting to work on.

The method used in this project is utilizing differential mobility spectrometry technology that will create two ion fields that will attract THC ions and repel other ions. The most pleasurable part of this experiment fell to 14 student volunteers who had to get high for the sake of science. Moreover, they even received some money for their “hard work.” Unfortunately, the idea was not supported by the federal law that forbids the research team to supply weed to students, even if it is done at the campus for a scientific study. The research body could not pay the students to smoke marijuana as well.

Luckily, Hill found a solution to this seemingly unsolvable issue. The professor stated that he would pay the students for their time and only for measuring their breath before and after their toking sessions. The professor's assistant, Jessica Tufariello, was a great help in this task. Students simply had to call her before smoking weed. She would take a pre-toking control breath, wait until the students are high and done with their session, and measure the post-toking THC content. The researchers also asked the participants to smoke a certain strain of weed—Blue Dream—that is particularly popular on the market.

Currently, the experiments show that the device can correctly measure the THC content in 81 percent of samples. It is certainly a great development in the field. With this device, the regulations concerning the safety of cannabis use may be successfully enforced.

The states and countries that have already legalized marijuana use may benefit from breathalyzers in their quest that can help maintain a responsible society.

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