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New breath test may detect recent marijuana use

Science Spotlight

November 21, 2013

Car crash

Marijuana causes serious impairment in motor skills, judgment, and perception, which are necessary for operating a vehicle safely. In the past, testing drivers for recent marijuana use has not been as simple as testing for alcohol, but preliminary research on the detection of THC – the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana - in the breath of marijuana smokers may change that. According to NIDA scientists who published their work in September, a new breath test they have developed can in most cases detect whether a person used marijuana within the previous ½ hour to 2.5 hours, depending on the frequency of use. This could be a valuable tool for workplace or roadside marijuana testing.

For a copy of the study abstract (published online September 17), go to: http://www.clinchem.org/content/early/2013/09/17/clinchem.2013.207407.abstract?sid=204a9086-46df-4f50-8134-d8aa7f19f7b1. For facts on drugged driving, go to: www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/drugged-driving.

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at media@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245.

NIDA Press Office

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found at www.drugabuse.gov, which is now compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or email requests to drugpubs@nida.nih.gov. Online ordering is available at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA’s media guide can be found at www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/dear-journalist, and its easy-to-read website can be found at www.easyread.drugabuse.gov. You can follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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    NIDA. (2013, November 21). New breath test may detect recent marijuana use. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2013/11/new-breath-test-may-detect-recent-marijuana-use

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