THC Breathalyzers Might Be Closer Than You Think

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THC breathalyzers might be coming sooner than you had originally thought. It seems that scientists at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) may have come up with a way to accurately test THC levels in motorists suspected for driving while high. Obviously cops can’t make you take a urine test or a blood test when they have you pulled over, so it’s been very difficult for them to nab people for driving stoned. THC is detectable in your pee for up to four weeks, after all! You could have smoked a bowl that morning and been charged with a DUI!

A THC Breathalyzer is Inevitable

Since cannabis legalization started spreading across the US, tech companies have been racing each other to be the first to come up with an accurate THC breathalyzer. It’s been quite the struggle for them, simply because of the nature of THC. THC breathalyzers would work a little bit differently than one used for alcohol. Booze molecules are not as complex as THC molecules, and are therefore easier to accurately detect. Researchers think that they’ve found a way by to detect THC through testing the vapor pressure.

Why Alcohol Breathalyzers Won’t Work

I’m sure you’ve smelled alcohol on someone’s breath before. The reason why the smell of booze on someone’s breath is so strong is because of the high vapor pressure. Tara Lovestead, the lead author of the NIST study explains it as such, “Vapor pressure describes how a compound behaves when it transition from a liquid to a gas. That’s what happens in your lungs when a molecule leaves the blood to be exhaled in your breath. So if you want to accurately measure blood levels based on breath, you need to know the vapor pressure.” THC molecules are larger than alcohol molecules and also tend to stick together, which makes the vapor pressure of THC molecules much lower.

One Might Be Coming Soon

The NIST team found a way to detect THC molecules using something called PLOT-cryo (porous layer open tubular cryogenic absorption) technology, which is much more sensitive. PLOT-cryo technology freezes THC molecules and separates them from your breath. The technology is so sensitive that it can even identify the smallest THC molecules. The team is working to form standards of measurement, but the issue is that there are no standards yet for determining if someone is too stoned to drive. Still, we are one step closer to seeing THC breathalyzers.

Source: New York Daily News

Image Source: The Daily Beast

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