Acute THC Consumption Can Be Determined From Breath Concentration

Correlation of Breath and Blood Δ9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol Concentrations and Release Kinetics Following Controlled Administration of Smoked Cannabis

In Summary

A recent study has found a method to determine acute ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) intoxication by analyzing THC concentration in exhaled breath. The more common method of analyzing blood concentration of THC or urinalysis is unable to determine whether THC consumption is acute or chronic as concentrations in blood and urine matrices can remain high long after consumption. By standardizing a method to analyze acute intoxication researchers will be able to determine a legal limit of intoxication for driving or other activities, police officers will be able to better regulate driving under the influence, and hospitals will be able to better treat those who come in with intoxication symptoms. 

This research highlights the importance of standardizing cannabis-induced intoxication levels. People often drive under the influence of alcohol and are frequently the cause of accidents, but have been legally determined to drive as long as their blood-alcohol level is under 0.08. As cannabis is still under-researched and not recognized as a medically beneficial substance by the federal government the standardization of cannabis-intoxication levels has not been formed. As medical marijuana continues to be legalized at state levels local government should take care to implement methods to judge acute intoxication to better protect citizens and allow patients who need to consume cannabis to live their lives as normally as possible. 

The study is available for review or download here

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Benjamin Caplan, MDAcute THC Consumption Can Be Determined From Breath Concentration