Dec 2, 2016 12:15 PM

Massachusetts Professor Creates App for Stoned Drivers

After Massachusetts voters approved the legalization of recreational cannabis, the state police have begun to consider devices for identifying drugged drivers. Michael Milburn, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts, has developed a special mobile app for testing weed impairment.

Massachusetts Voters Approved Recreational Marijuana Initiative
Massachusetts Voters Approved Recreational Marijuana Initiative
Massachusetts has now become the first state in the eastern part of the country to legally permit adult use of cannabis. After the Tuesday’s approval, the state, together with California, Maine, and Nevada, has joined Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington that currently use marijuana recreationally.

It is quite difficult to detect whether a driver is under the influence of cannabis, as a traditional breathalyzer does not show THC content in blood. The officer has to observe the person and their car in order to find marijuana traces, and it is often impossible to do.

Considering this problem, Milburn has created an impairment evaluation application called DRUID, an abbreviated form of “driving under the influence of drugs.” This mobile-based software contains a set of special tasks performing which an assumed infringer can disprove or confirm the officer's suspicions in five minutes.

The marijuana sobriety test includes exercises such as stopping a clock after one minute, tapping the screen in places where various shapes appear, following a moving circle with a finger, or standing on one leg for half a minute.

Milburn hopes that his app will be useful not only for law enforcement but cannabis users as well. Previously, tokers had no ways to really know whether they are stoned or not, but this tool will help them become more responsible about their condition and public safety, according to the developer.

The developer has already tested the app by using it repeatedly on people consuming pot. The test results showed the increasing of impairment scores when a stoner was high and decreasing as marijuana compounds metabolized in their systems.

Though a cannabis high lasts for several hours, weed compounds are excreted by the body long after pot consumption. The period of marijuana breakdown depends on various factors, such as the stoner's metabolic rate, diet, the percentage of body fat, and even the level of stress.

How Long Can Weed Stay in Your Body?
How Long Can Weed Stay in Your Body?
Whether you smoke a lot of marijuana or take only a few tokes, you can never know how long THC will stay in your system as the way it is processed is different for every person. It depends on how often you consume weed, your weight, stamina, and other health factors.

According to experts, there is no impairment standard for weed users yet. If people are allowed to drive their cars having 0.08 alcohol content in their blood, a similar norm should also be set for cannabis-impaired drivers.

However, this is a quite difficult issue to solve, as marijuana is fat-soluble and can be found in a stoner's blood for weeks after pot consumption. If you do not feel impaired anymore, it does not mean that your blood is already free of active weed compounds.

Confirming this fact, Milburn is also concerned that people who refrain from driving a car right after cannabis use might get behind the wheel too soon.

Thus, the state police continue to look for new ideas on how to define a person who is too stoned to drive.

Cannabis Facts: Marijuana and Driving
Cannabis Facts: Marijuana and Driving
The recreational and medical usage of marijuana has already been legalized in more than 20 states, including Colorado and Washington. However, the situation is not as good as we expected.
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