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How Soon Can a THC Breath Test Become a Reality?

Posted by Russell West | Apr 30, 2024 | 0 Comments

If you are a Millennial, then something you have in common with the generations older than you, but not with the generations younger than you, is the element of danger associated with smoking weed. Sure, sharing your first joint or your first bong hit with friends is still a rite of passage for teenagers, but in our day, cannabis was a Schedule I controlled substance, as illegal as heroin and even more illegal than cocaine, instead of just another adult vice like alcohol or tobacco. So much about the role of cannabis in society has changed during our lifetimes; it has gone from being a scary drug to being a health fad, available in pricey gummy candy form, just like multivitamins. One thing that has not changed about cannabis is that it impairs your ability to drive. A Spokane auto accident lawyer can help you if the at-fault driver in the accident that caused your injuries was California sober.

Driving While High on Weed is as Dangerous as Driving Drunk

In any ways, cannabis is at least as safe as alcohol. No one has ever died from an overdose of cannabis. You probably know people who have smoked a joint every day for decades, and they are as healthy as the people who have drunk a glass of wine every day for decades. It is not, however, safe to drive under the influence of cannabis. To make matters worse, what counts as “under the influence” in the context of traffic safety is less clear-cut for cannabis than it is for alcohol.

Why Don't We Have a Cannabis Breathalyzer for Traffic Stops?

Whether you are drunk, as opposed to merely tipsy or buzzed, is a subjective measure. From a legal standpoint, though, what matters is not how you feel but rather your blood alcohol content (BAC). Since alcohol only circulates in your bloodstream for a short time (approximately one hour per alcoholic beverage), anything greater than or equal to a BAC of 0.08% is considered legally drunk.

It is also possible to measure cannabis intoxication by measuring circulating levels of THC. Blood tests can accurately measure this, but it takes about four hours to get the results, so it is impractical to use these blood tests at traffic stops. Researchers are currently working on a THC breath test. Tests that measure THC metabolites in the breath have existed for a long time. The reason they are not currently usable for traffic stops is that, like the blood tests, they take several hours to yield a result. Researchers from Virginia and Brazil are currently collaborating to develop a cannabis breathalyzer test that will produce results more quickly.

Contact West Law Office About Car Accident Cases

A premises liability lawyer can help you if you got injured in a car accident where cannabis intoxication played a role. Contact West Law Office in Spokane, Washington, to find out more about your legal options.

About the Author

Russell West

Russell West from West Law Office, located in Spokane, Washington represents clients in areas of criminal traffic, misdemeanors, and personal injury. DUI’s, Reckless Driving, Negligent driving, Hit and Run, and Driving with Suspended license are the majority of criminal traffic violations. Drug Charges, Theft, and Domestic Violence account for most of the other criminal cases Russell handles.


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West Law Office - Russell West Attorney

Spokane Attorney Russell West practice areas include: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Motorcycle Accidents, Slip and Falls, DUIs, DOL Hearings, Criminal Traffic, Expungement/Vacating Records, and Insurance Bad Faith

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