Female being tested with a breathalyzer for drugs or alcohol.

Breathalyzer Test Can Detect Levels of Marijuana

By Joel Hancock

More and more states have begun legalizing the use of both medical and recreational marijuana. Subsequently, law enforcement has increasingly concerned itself with discovering new ways to identify any drivers who may be under the influence of and impaired by marijuana and specifically the psychoactive ingredient in it, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Detecting THC in the Body

While several tests have been implemented to discover the level of an individual’s intoxication, THC has only been able to be detected through a sample of someone’s blood or urine. Luckily, researchers at The University of Pittsburgh are now in the process of developing a new way to detect THC on a driver’s breath. 

This new THC Breathalyzer, though still in its developmental phase, brings much hope to law enforcement and prosecutors that they will soon be able to identify those driving under the influence of marijuana and THC products. 

How Does the THC Breathalyzer Work?

The marijuana Breathalyzer uses microscopic carbon nanotubes in order to measure the number of THC molecules in the breath. When a driver breathes into the Breathalyzer, the THC molecules, which change their electrical properties, bind to the surface of the nanotubes. This changes how quickly the electrical currents are able to determine whether there is THC present in the individual’s breath. 

The Concern of Accuracy 

Since these devices are brand new, there is concern regarding the accuracy of this testing and therefore how it could result in issues for law enforcement officers administrating them. 

Since marijuana stays in an individual’s system much longer than alcohol, it can prove very difficult to determine whether or not someone is showing THC from the time that they were behind the wheel, or whether they were under the influence up to a month ago. 

Additionally, since THC is stored in fat cells and people have a variety of body types and compositions, it can make it more difficult for states to determine what is considered the legal limit for it and thus what constitutes impairment under the law. 

Joel Hancock at Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Helps Those in North Carolina Who Have Been Charged with Driving Under the Influence

A conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have a severe and long-lasting impact on your life. From finding a place to live to securing a job position, it can prove difficult with such a conviction on your record. It can also impact your right to drive, and subsequently your ability to get to and from work and make money. That’s why it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. 

At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you fight these charges. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

About the Author
Joel Hancock is a native of Carteret County, NC. He devotes 100% of his practice to defending those accused of traffic infractions, DWI, misdemeanors, and felonies in Carteret County, NC.