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Researchers developing spit test for THC concentration

Researchers at Stanford University in California have been working on a test that can screen drivers for marijuana use. As many more states are beginning to consider legalizing the drug, law enforcement has struggled to find a roadside test for impairment that is equivalent to the Breathalyzer. THC can only be detected through blood or urine tests conducted in a lab. However, researchers say that the new mobile device can test for THC in minutes.

The device detects molecules of THC in saliva. In addition to the fact that it is less invasive than blood or urine tests and can return results quickly, researchers also believe that it is a more reliable test of impairment. The test could also be used to check for other substances such as heroin, cocaine and morphine.

There are several steps still ahead before the test will be in widespread use. States will need to set limits for amounts of THC, and the device will need to be further tested and approved by regulators. Typical cutoff points for THC based on previous studies may be 2-25 ng/mL, and it is possible to detect these concentrations using the test.

A person who is facing charges related to drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs may want to consult an attorney. These types of charges can be serious and may also affect people's livelihood, their access to education and other areas of their lives. However, even if a test of a person's impairment is positive, there might still be strategies that a defense attorney can employ. The test might have been conducted improperly or there might be a problem in the way the lab has handled the results.

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