New Breathalyzer May Detect Pot Impairment - NBC Bay Area

New Breathalyzer May Detect Pot Impairment

The breathalyzer detects the amount of THC in breath

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    NEWSLETTERS

    New Marijuana Breathalyzer to Detect High Drivers

    The breathalyzer detects the level of THC in a person's breath. NBC 7's Megan Tevrizian reports on how it works.

    (Published Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018)

    A California company may have developed a game changer for detecting impaired drivers. 

    The company Hound Labs created a breathalyzer able to detect the amount of THC in a driver's breath.

    “It’s an incredibly challenging scientific problem to ensure the really, really low concentrations,” said Hound Labs CEO Mike Lynn.

    “We’re talking parts per trillion in your breath,” Lynn said.

    The device uses the breath to measure THC, the psychoactive chemical in pot that makes you high.

    Lynn told NBC 7 the breathalyzer can accurately detect if someone has smoked pot in the last few hours.

    The Hound breathalyzer could be used by law enforcement and commercial use by winter 2018, said Lynn.

    Correlating the level of THC with impairment is not an easy thing to do, according to Tom Marcott, the co-director at the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research with UC San Diego.

    “A person can have really high THC levels and be impaired, but within a half hour they can have a low THC level and still be impaired,” Marcott said.

    Marcott is heading a three year, state-funded study on the impact of marijuana on driving ability.

    The UC San Diego study is one of the first and most comprehensive studies nationwide. The results of the blind study are expected to be released in spring 2019.

    The Hound breathalyzer could be used by law enforcement and commercial use by winter 2018, said Lynn.