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Spit test may help police detect THC concentration

Drivers in Ohio and throughout the country who police suspect of being impaired may be administered another test besides the Breathalyzer in the future. Researchers at Stanford University say they have developed a test that can measure the amount of THC in a person's saliva in a matter of minutes.

Although some states have legalized marijuana and a number of others are considering doing so, what has been lacking is a way for law enforcement to quickly assess whether a person is impaired because of marijuana use. Urine or blood tests to measure THC concentration are too invasive to be performed roadside, and they must be submitted to a lab in order to get results.

Magnetic biosensors on the mobile device developed by the Stanford team can detect THC molecules based on a swab test. The amount of THC in saliva may also be a more reliable guide to impairment than THC in urine or blood. Laws about THC limits vary from state to state although some set it between 0 and 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood. However, many states still need to set limits for THC and the device must be further tested and approved by regulators before it can be put into regular use.

Charges for driving under the influence can be serious. How people wish to approach their defense might depend on whether or not they have a history of such charges and even their age and career. For example, there may be different complications for a person who is underage while some professions may censure people with a DUI on their record. These people may want to have the assistance of an attorney when attempting to refute the allegations.

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