The Marijuana Breathalyzer Test
The Marijuana Breathalyzer Test

Did This Chemist Just Solve the Marijuana Breathalyzer Problem?

Can you remove a molecule of hydrogen from THC and make a cannabis breathalyzer work?

Posted by:
Reginald Reefer on Sunday May 17, 2020

Has this Chemist solved the Marijuana Breathalyzer Problem?

marijuana breathalyzer breakthrough

The quest for a functional marijuana breathalyzer is not a new one. I have covered previous attempts by Hound Labs to make a fully-functional cannabis breathalyzer by 2020. Currently – while they do boast the product on their website you still have to “join the waiting list”.

This is probably because Hound Labs cannot legally claim to have a functional breathalyzer until it has undergone rigorous testing. The issue being that detecting cannabis is not as simple as detecting alcohol. Hound Labs wants to combine testing and have one single breathalyzer that can serve to test both.

The problem being that the presence of alcohol is shortly lived within the human body – whereas cannabis could remain for up to 90 days. This is because cannabinoids like THC and CBD bind to lipid molecules in the body or your “fatty tissue” and gets used up over time. Unlike alcohol – we actually have receptors within our bodies that interface with the plant’s chemistry.

This is why most of the past cannabis testing is not an accurate depiction of “intoxication”. You could literally smoke a joint a week prior to getting tested and you’d still test positive. However, positive in this instance does not equate “intoxicated” or “stoned”.

This was the great “Chemical Barrier” to effective testing – however, Professor Neil Garg believes that he has cracked the chemistry and Marijuana breathalyzers can now be a “thing”.

Let’s talk Chemicals Baby!

For those who want to see the unfiltered studies I’m going to be talking about – CLICK HERE. If you want the “Common Version” – keep on reading.

Garg and co-author Dr. Evan Darzi, set out to solve a complex problem with a simple solution. They wanted to create an easy-to-use “no training required” and 100% accurate way of detecting whether someone has smoked or consumed cannabis in the recent past [3-6 hours].

“Darzi and Garg developed a simple oxidation process similar to that used in an alcohol breathalyzer. Oxidation is the loss of an electron from a molecule. The researchers removed a hydrogen molecule from THC (whose full name is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Alcohol breathalyzers convert ethanol to an organic chemical compound, and hydrogen is lost through the oxidation process.” - SOURCE

By removing a molecule of hydrogen from the THC – the researchers are inducing “oxidation” which then leads to a color change of the molecule because it changes the waveform of the molecule.

The structure of THC includes a unit called a phenol. When chemists oxidize a phenol, the oxidation produces a member of a class of organic compounds called quinones. “We know how to oxidize a phenol into a quinone,” Garg said. THC and the quinone absorb light differently. “Once we knew that,” Garg said, “we decided to use electricity to perform the oxidation.”

With what happened then was that after the oxidation process occurred, the THC molecule was altered and produced a different color.

While this is a very rudimentary way of detecting the presence of THC – it is very effective and requires very little tech or training to implement.

Right now – the team are moving ahead and trying to get their concept into a human-testing stage, where they can start ruling out false positives and hone in on the 3-5-hour marker for intoxication.

3-5 hours? RIDICULOUS!

Okay – I know some of you might be angry at the fact that they are even making a marijuana breathalyzer but as someone who has been consuming cannabis for roughly two decades – I am actually in favor of an effective test.

I don’t believe that people who smoke weed should be driving. I know that in many cases – you can smoke a bowl or two and get behind the wheel and be fine. I have driven after smoking a shwaggy joint and nothing happened.

Although, I’m not worried about the chronic stoners. Chronic stoners have been driving while high since forever – my biggest beef comes with newbies.

The dumbass who thinks “He can handle a big fat dab hit” or “eating a bunch of edibles in one sitting” – those are the people I fear. I am okay with not driving if we can get morons off the roads. Uber and other car-sharing services gives me the freedom to get “as fucked up as I’d like” without endangering others.

I think this should be the standard for any psychonaut. And so – I am totally okay with a functional breathalyzer that gives you a 5-hour window. It just means you will have to be more responsible with your smoking – and that is a good thing.

Is this real?

It’s going to happen at one point or another – it’s now only a matter of when. Houndlabs are close – these guys are closing in – I can only say that from this moment on, we’re weeks or months away from a functional breathalyzer.









What did you think?

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