New research has found additional evidence that THC levels detected in the breath or blood of marijuana users isn’t a dependable impairment indicator. The scientists discovered that THC levels in the breath and blood didn’t offer dependable evidence of how recently an individual had used marijuana.
For their study, the researchers recruited test subjects that were mostly individuals whom were daily marijuana users as test subjects. The researchers then determined the levels of THC in their breath and blood before and after each of them inhaled marijuana.
Before they inhaled marijuana, most of the participants had residual levels of THC of 5ng/ml or higher. This value exceeds the legal limit in a number of states. In their report, the researchers noted that THC at levels like this was still detectable, despite the absence of impairment. After each of the participants had inhaled the marijuana, the scientists observed an inverse relationship between performance impairment and levels of THC in the blood.
The researchers stated that their findings were consistent with other studies that have found that THC is detectable in an individual’s breath a number of days after it was last used. They explained that breath-based testing technologies for marijuana use relied solely on detecting THC’s presence, and they could result in test outcomes that were false positives. This is because THC’s presence in an individual’s breath was detectable outside the window of impairment.
These findings are consistent with the results of a separate study that was published last year in the “Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Review” journal. Scientists in this study conducted an analysis of research on concentrations of THC in the saliva and blood and driving performance.
Dr. Danielle McCartney, the lead author of this study, stated that higher concentrations of THC in the blood were only weakly linked to increased impairment in occasional users of marijuana, noting that no significant relationship was observed in regular users of marijuana. This suggested that concentrations of THC in oral fluid and blood were poor indicators of THC-induced impairment from marijuana consumption.
McCartney noted that the group’s findings showed that individuals who weren’t impaired could be identified mistakenly as marijuana intoxicated when the limits of THC are imposed by the law. The researchers noted that their findings called into question the reliance on levels of THC by law enforcement in America and the validity of random testing for THC in saliva.
The study’s findings were published in the “Scientific Reports” journal.
The entire marijuana industry, including entities such as American Cannabis Partners, can be expected to look forward to reliable technology that detects marijuana impairment and prevents users from being victimized for past cannabis use simply because metabolites are still detectable in their systems.
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