VCU science professor developing THC breathalyzer
The professor and her students are on the verge of a first-of-its-kind THC breathalyzer
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - There’s a possible breakthrough to deal with law enforcement concerns about people driving while high.
A VCU professor and her students are on the verge of a first-of-its-kind THC breathalyzer. It’s all part of a bigger goal to keep you safe on the roads.
You’ve probably seen alcohol breathalyzers for some time, working to get drunk drivers off the road, but what about drivers who may be impaired in a different way?
“We are creating a chemical foundation for a breathalyzer device that would be able to not only detect THC previous use, but also be a reliable tool to separate THC from CBD,” VCU Forensics Science Professor Dr. Emanuele Alves said.
Alves and her students are in the process of making one of the first THC breathalyzers to hopefully deter people from getting behind the wheel impaired.
With CBD legal, they hope this device will lead to fewer false-positive results.
“CBD is a popular product, so we don’t want the population to be caught in a legal situation after using CBD,” Dr. Alves said.
So how does it work?
“We can record this reaction, this color and use this record to quantify THC in the air; that’s the main idea,” VCU Postdoctoral Fellow and Researcher Dr. Wagner Pacheco said.
Pacheco said the breathalyzer is a colorimetric-based device, like some at-home COVID-19 tests, meaning if THC is present, the color will change in the device. That will then will notify the person giving the test within minutes that someone is under the influence.
“The device will be some kind of camera and some space for someone to blow inside this device. It is very similar to the first alcohol breathalyzer,” Pacheco said.
Both say this device will hopefully lead to saving more lives.
“I don’t think our intention here is to be unique in the market, but it’s to help the population and keep our roads safe,” Alves said.
Alves said depending on funding, we could possibly see this out in the next few years.
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