Pot Breathalyzers: Do They Work?

Pot breathalyzers were a welcomed addition for law enforcement, but are they effective?

I previously posted about a new breathalyzer for marijuana. Such invention was, and still remains, an exciting prospect for law enforcement and drug testing options. Hounds Lab touted their product as being truly revolutionary:

"The Hound® marijuana breathalyzer solves the fundamental safety problem associated with marijuana legalization: How to objectively determine if someone recently used marijuana and therefore could be impaired while driving or working. Hound Labs, Inc. has created the world’s first field-tested marijuana breathalyzer to measure recent marijuana use in breath."

However, according to a Live Science article, there's not a lot of reason to be excited: "[T]he problem is that recent research clearly shows that the levels of marijuana's active compound, called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, don't line up in a straightforward way with how impaired people are, according to . . . the journal Trends in Molecular Medicine."

As with any new technology, there are growing pains and lessons learned when products are actually implemented for widespread use. However, the risk of individuals being arrested, facing criminal prosecution or employment termination based on the outcome of such breathalyzers isn't something to take lightly. Trends in Molecular Medicine suggests that researchers need to develop a greater understanding of the effects of not only THC, but also the extensive range of compounds found in marijuana. It seems that their latest research points to the unanswered questions that still remain and the deficiencies in our understanding of marijuana detection devices.

As federal law begins to hopefully change and more research is both encouraged and permitted, hopefully these technologies will advance and few, if any, questions will remain as to their efficacy.

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