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Researchers Developing Thc Breath Test


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Researchers Developing THC Breath Test


Researchers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse are developing a breath test to determine the THC content in someone’s body.


The researchers collected exhaled breath from individuals who used marijuana four or more times per week and from less-regular users who smoked marijuana two times per week before and after they smoked a joint with 6.8% THC weed.


Among the chronic smokers, all breath samples were found to be positive for THC in under an hour.  76.9 percent at an hour and a half; 53.8 percent at 2.38 hours, and only 1 sample was positive at 4.2 hours after smoking.  Among occasional smokers, 90.9 percent of breath samples were THC-positive at 0.95 hours, and 63.6 percent at 1.49 hours.


Researchers found that the major cannabinoid found in the breath samples was THC.  No sample contained THC-COOH, which is the chemical that remains after active THC has been used up.  This is typically what employers look for on drug tests because it shows proof of any marijuana use.


The researchers concluded: “Breath may offer an alternative matrix for testing for recent driving under the influence of cannabis, but is limited to a short detection window (between 0.5 hours and 2 hours).”


The issue with the breath test is that, so far, it can only tell that there is THC in the system, but not how much is actually there.  Because of this, it is unlikely that a breath test would replace blood or urine testing for THC levels any time soon.


The study was published in Clinical Chemistry.



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