420 with CNW — Researchers Develop Saliva Test for Marijuana to Detect Impaired Drivers

December 3, 2020 04:25:10

People who consume alcohol in the United States are often stopped on the roadsides and asked to take breathalyzer tests. If an individual’s blood alcohol content exceeds a specified limit, they may be subjected to penalties, fines and tickets; they could even be arrested. On the other hand, marijuana does not currently have an intoxication test, which makes it harder for authorities to determine individuals who may have exceeded the limit and are driving while impaired.

Researchers have, however, reported that they are on the verge of a breakthrough, developing a saliva test to help measure marijuana levels at roadside stops. The research findings collected by these scientists were presented on the SciMeetings platform that was held online by the American Chemical Society.

The study’s lead, Shalini Prasad, stated that while people think that driving while high on cannabis is safer than driving when intoxicated on liquor, both alcohol and cannabis have similar effects on individuals. This includes a decrease in self-awareness, a decline in a person’s alertness and a slowed reaction time. However, researchers have yet to determine a definite level of THC, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis, that can cause impairment. Preliminary reports suggest that between 1 to 15 THC nano grams per ml of blood may be considered as an impairment level.

With the number of states that are decriminalizing cannabis growing, law enforcement authorities are struggling to find ways to ensure that the roads remain safe from drivers who may be driving while intoxicated. While THC blood tests do exist, and they are invasive and laborious. In addition, most police officers do not have the skills required to administer these tests at roadside stops. Some scientists are working on tools to help measure levels of THC that are similar to alcohol breathalyzers. However, Prasad explains that THC levels in a person’s breath are low, and these devices may need extensive data processing to allow other compounds to be filtered out.

With the discovery that the THC found in saliva corresponds to the THC found in the blood, Prasad and colleagues have found a way around this. The University of Texas researchers have developed an electronic reader and sensor strips that pick up on any THC present in a sample. They have conducted a test using a drop of human saliva, which had been contaminated with THC. Their findings demonstrate that the device could test THC levels that range from 100pg/ml to 100 ng/ml accurately. Additionally, it took the device less than five minutes to produce results.

Prasad adds that this test may find other applications apart from use in law enforcement. The data produced by this device may also be used by regulatory groups and legislators to create laws that are effective.

Of course, not all cannabis products intoxicate. For example, The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (CSE: WTER) makes CBD-infused edible products and topicals in addition to its famous premium alkaline bottled water.

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