Is there an instant test for marijuana?

There are several tests for marijuana but there is not currently an instant drug test.  The most often used test is a blood test, but this is not an instant test; blood samples need to be tested in a lab which takes time.  Hound Labs in Oakland, California and Cannabix in Canada, have been working on a cannabis “breathalyzer for several years. There also is a machine that will analyze saliva quickly that has been developed by Dräger.   The Dräger DrugTest® 5000 system claims to be a fast, accurate means of testing oral fluid samples for drugs of abuse, such as amphetamines, designer amphetamines, opiates, cocaine and metabolites, benzodiazepines, cannabinoids, and methadone.

In summation, The current available  tests are a blood test and a saliva test. Two companies, Hound Labs in Oakland, California and Cannabix in Canada, have been working on a cannabis “breathalyzer” for several years.

Is there a marijuana (cannabis) breathalyzer test?

The short answer is no, there is currently no cannabis breathalyzer test; because there is an alcohol breathalyzer, many people have been trying to develop a comparable device for cannabis.  The payoff for a company that develops the first accurate “cannabis breathalyzer” will be huge, and there are a number of companies working on this.

Two companies, Hound Labs in Oakland, California and Cannabix in Canada, have been working on their devices for several years.  The difficulty they are having is that the cannabis molecule is quite different than alcohol—as one chemist at Washington State University told me, there are just not enough THC molecules in the breath to measure accurately.  The Washington State U. researchers have developed a THC assay device using ion mobility spectrometry (the same technology that Cannabix is trying to use). The WSU device can identify recent use with a tongue swab (that’s where most of the THC accumulates).   The problem for a roadside device to measure impairment: it is delicate, needs temperature control, and costs $10,000.

How long after I use marijuana can I drive?

How long you are impaired (and, thus, shouldn’t drive) depends upon a number of factors, including how much cannabis you consumed, what the THC content of the cannabis is, how frequently you use cannabis on a regular basis, and whether you have used it in the previous 3 days.

People who use consume cannabis on a daily basis can develop “tolerance.”  However, our research indicates that tolerance to cannabis does not necessarily mean, “no effect.”  It means the amount needed to reach a specific level of “high” increases, and the “altitude” of the high is lower and last less time.

How long does Marijuana stay in my system?

THC is not psychoactive.  When cannabis is consumed, the Delta-9 THC molecule is “de-carboxylated” (carbon molecules are removed) when heated.  The metabolite of THC, 11-OH-THC, is what is psychoactive. Because the THC molecule is “lipophilic” (an affinity for fat cells), traces of cannabis use can remain in for days, weeks or even months following use.

How long these molecules stay in your body depends upon a person’s frequency of use.  Some reports indicate that using cannabis more than once per week can cause THC and its metabolites to build up in the body.  The more fat cells a person has, the greater storage capacity there is for cannabis molecules. Some studies also suggest that exercise can increase the rate of release of cannabis molecules from the body.

How can I test my employees for Marijuana?

There are tests for THC levels but with the legalization of marijuana, your concern should really be testing for impairment.  THC tests only show that someone has used marijuana at some point- not if they were impaired on the job.  If your concern is for employee safety, then implementing an impairment testing program can keep your employees safe. Impairment testing works regardless of the cause, drugs, alcohol, fatigue or injury.