Marijuana breath tests may replace THC-blood tests in the near future

Opponents of marijuana laws, including those involving driving under the influence of the drug, have been fighting for years. The main reason stems from the fact that the controversial THC-blood test used in most states to determine if a driver is under the influence of THC, a chemical compound in marijuana, at the time of the arrest is inaccurate.

This is because THC can remain in the body weeks after being smoked or consumed-therefore THC detection in the blood doesn’t necessarily indicate the driver was impaired at the time he or she was pulled over for suspected DUI.

In a study conducted on 25 smokers, six participants tested positive for THC in a blood-THC test seven days after smoking it.

However, According to a recent study published in Clinical Chemistry, a popular medical journal, a new-and more reliable-marijuana “breath test” similar to the Breathalyzer test performed on drivers operating under the influence of alcohol may replace the THC-blood test in the near future.

The details of the new “marijuana breath test”

For the study, researchers tested the breath samples of various marijuana users of different degrees. Chronic users, those who smoked at least four times a week, and occasional users, those who smoked fewer than two times a week, were in the study group. Each user was given a breath test after smoking a 6.8 THC cigarette.

The researchers determined that the breath tests were positive for chronic users in roughly one hour of smoking the cigarette containing THC. For occasional users, approximately 90 percent of breath tests came out positive for THC within an hour of consumption.

The researchers conclude that although the breath test may be a viable alternative, it’s not foolproof. One chronic user still tested positive for THC four hours after smoking the THC cigarette. Out of the occasional user group, one participant didn’t have a positive reading at all.

What the future holds for marijuana testing

It remains to be seen how states will regulate and approach marijuana use and driving in the years to come. The legalization of recreational pot use in Colorado and Washington has started a snowball affect which will likely cause many states to follow suit in the upcoming years.

As the nation gains more widespread acceptance of the use of pot, laws relating to pot and driving may change as well.

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