(HealthDay)-Researchers may be one step closer to developing an equivalent of a drinking detector to detect marijuana use.
In early research, scientists were able to see their rapid test We were able to reliably detect THC in human saliva within 5 minutes. THC, an abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the active ingredient in marijuana.
Currently, the “gold standard” for detecting marijuana use is to measure THC in blood or urine. However, the process of these tests can take several days. Another drawback is that, unlike alcohol, THC can remain in the bloodstream for days or even weeks. Therefore, a “positive” blood test does not necessarily reflect recent use.
These facts make it difficult to develop roadside tests for marijuana use, similar to the alcohol detectors used to measure driver alcohol levels.
However, THC in saliva reflects marijuana use within the last 12 hours, said Hakho Lee, principal investigator of the new study.
THC has several existing saliva tests, but like the yes / no pregnancy tests, it is hampered by problems such as slow processing times and “binary” results.
Lee said his team was able to develop tests that not only quickly detect THC in saliva, but also quantify its amount.
The first test with 43 marijuana users and 43 non-users accurately detected THC in saliva samples from all users of the drug.
According to Lee, based at the Systems Biology Center in Boston, Massachusetts General Hospital, it took about three minutes from “sample in, result out.”
Researchers also used tests to monitor how marijuana users’ THC levels changed over time. Overall, THC in saliva declined fairly rapidly after people inhaled the drug, but after 6 hours, these levels remained above 1 ng / ml. This is the cutoff recommended by European driving projects under the influence of drugs, alcohol and medicines.
The broader problem is that, unlike the case of alcohol, there is no single THC level that defines “addiction.” Lee explained that the level of disability associated with a particular THC concentration is complex because it depends, for example, on how marijuana is taken and whether the person is a regular user.
Still, more sophisticated, Lee is on his team Rapid inspection It can be useful for road testing of suspected drivers. And there are even potential applications for the general public, he said. One is to check your milk to prevent your baby from being accidentally exposed to THC.
Guohua Li, a professor at Columbia University’s Merman School of Public Health in New York City, said the first performance of the test was “very encouraging.”
Lee, who was not involved in the study, is studying the role of drugs in road accidents and other injuries.
“The evidence is overwhelming and consistent, [marijuana] With use Increasing risk I was involved in a fatal accident. “
The risks associated with using marijuana alone are not as great as the risks of drunk driving, Li said.But on average, he said, the driver used Marijuana The risk of being involved in a fatal crash is about double that of a non-user.
In addition, Mr. Li Use of marijuana.. Over the last few decades, he said, the proportion of fatally injured drivers found to contain THC in their systems has increased significantly.
According to Lee, the latest findings provide a “proof of concept” that allows for rapid roadside testing of THC. But “more work is needed to use it in the field,” he added.
The findings were published in the journal on October 20th. Scientific translation medicine. Lee and several collaborators are listed as inventors of patent applications covering the trial.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse Medicinal driving.
Hojeong Yu et al, a rapid assay provides on-site quantification of tetrahydrocannabinol in oral fluid. Scientific translation medicine (2021). DOI: 10.1126 / scitranslmed.abe2352
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Scientists Develop Rapid Tests for Marijuana Use
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