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Pot Smokers Beware: Your Breath Could Get you in Trouble

By: Buz Deliere | November 5, 2022

Researchers from UCLA are on the verge of developing a device that is capable of detecting THC on someone’s breath after they've smoked cannabis. This could be an added tool along with alcohol breathalyzers, or similar technology found within patrol cars that are currently being utilized by law enforcement agencies across America today.

In a research study recently published, UCLA's professor of organic chemistry Neil Garg and other scientists, part of EltraTect Inc., describe how they were able to create an electric current whose strength was indicated by the amount of THC present. The device contained a solution when combined with the THC can be oxidized to create the current.

Thanks to Evan Darzi's research, we now know that removing the hydrogen molecule in THC allows it to change colors and can be detected by instruments. This oxidation process is similar to how alcohol breathalyzers work and may be an accurate way of measuring cannabis intoxication.

When THC comes into contact with a negatively charged electrode on one side of an H-shaped glass chamber, it forms a new compound THCQ, that sends electrons across to another electrode creating a current. A higher concentration of THC means a stronger current.

This new patent-pending technology from UCLA has allowed for the development of a THC breathalyzer that works similarly to their existing ones. The ElectraTect exclusive licensing agreement is part of this research and will help lead us closer to understanding how cannabinoids can be measured accurately in our bodies.

The researchers have found a connection between the recent legalization of marijuana in many states and its impact on motor vehicle accidents. The availability of devices like Breathalysers might make roads safer as it helps us identify those who are impaired while driving, but more studies need to be conducted before a portable handheld device will be available for law enforcement in your area.

Marijuana use is already legal in some states, but it's often hard for police officers to tell if someone has smoked marijuana before they drive. This problem becomes even more complicated with the current forms of testing. Blood and urine tests can detect THC levels days-even weeks after consumption without any cognitive effects remaining. These new devices could help law enforcement determine more accurately who is a danger on the road.


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