For years I was told the stoner lore that marijuana was being kept illegal partly so that police could come up with a way to roadside test stoned drivers. That’s hardly true, and arrest records for DUI-marijuana in all 50 states prove that even without a breathalyzer or even a blood draw cops can bust you high-driving.
But still, there’s researchers out there are trying to find new ways to catch you red-eyed behind the wheel. Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that active THC can be detected in a breath-draw. Good news is that they can’t decide if it can really determine impairment.
Researchers took a sample of two groups, everyday puffers and occasional tokers, and then had them toke a joint rolled up with a 6.8 percent THC strain (Editor’s note: the government has some bullshit weed).
After the participants were finished smoking, the researchers were able to positively detect THC 79 percent of the time within an hour and a half and 53 percent of the time within two and a half hours in the regular smokers. Occasional tokers had higher reported rates, though their times reported were earlier than chronic smokers. For example, nearly 91 percent tested positive after “0.95 hours” and 64 percent tested positive after just over an hour and a half.
Though the results varied, there was one important part of the study to note: the tests were detecting active THC and not inactive, THC carobxy which can remain in your fatty tissue for up to a month but won’t have any affect on your state of mind.
So, with that, researchers were able to say that “breath may offer an alternative matrix for testing for recent driving under the influence of cannabis, but is limited to a short detection window [of a half hour to two hours].”