We have all heard of breathalyzers to check our alcohol levels, but have you ever imagined what a marijuana tester would look like? That day may not be as far down the road as you think.
An American government-funded study is working on developing an app that can one day possibly detect how impaired you really are. With cannabis becoming increasingly popular worldwide, government officials are seeking ways to detect whether or not people are safe to drive behind the wheel. Elisa Pabon, a Doctoral student at the University of Chicago, presented the app last month at the annual meeting of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
The name of the US app is ‘Am I Stoned’, and it is still in its research phase. The study was conducted on 24 healthy non-daily cannabis users. They were asked to take a capsule containing a placebo or 7.5 or 15 milligrams of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid in marijuana that gets you high. Neither researchers nor the test subjects knew who received the placebo and who received THC. The participants then completed computer-based tasks that are known to detect impairment.
They are tested on their reaction time, cognitive speed, memory, and motor skills. For example, in one of the tests, the person was asked to tap 2 fingers as fast as they could on the screen with their non-dominant hand. Another test was to shake the device as soon as they saw a blue dot on the screen.
Even though the results were not perfect, it is a good start. “The effects of the THC may be subtle, so we need highly sensitive tasks to detect highly sensitive tasks to detect impairment”‘, said Pabon.
Although the app is not yet intended to predict a persons ability to drive, researchers plan to use what they are learning to develop an app made for persons who want to know how impaired they really are. “One of our long-term goals is for the app to improve the safety of cannabis use by making an individual more aware of their impairment. ” said the research team leader Harriett de Witt.
So for now, it seems that only you can be the judge on how stoned you really are, but be on the lookout for a marijuana tester coming to your local police department anytime in the near future.