Breathalyzer Testing for Cannabis (THC)

As 2023 comes to an end there are major events occurring to increase the number of tools employers have available to test for Delta-9 THC, the metabolite of the parent drug found in marijuana. Primarily a product that has been in the speculative discussion for years is soon to come to the market as a viable test for recent marijuana use. Even more intriguing is the window of time identified of the drug usage closely corelates with possible impairment. The device is a breathalyzer specifically testing for THC in the breath sample. The first manufacturer coming to the market is Hound Labs. They have developed the first cannabis breathalyzer for employers that can detect active THC molecules in breath. The breathalyzer is designed to limit detection to usage that occurred within a few hours corresponding to impairment and also addressing the ability to test for psychoactive marijuana in an employee.

Urine testing has traditionally been the standard testing method for employers. As mentioned the detection window can go days or weeks back for THC. The breathalyzer isn't the only solution for capturing a smaller window of usage. Oral fluid testing is also a method to capture a more recent time frame of THC usage compared to urine. The oral fluid testing is already here and being utilized by numerous employers as state laws have become more strict on urine testing. Oral fluid captures the same time window as the breathalyzer relating to impairment although it can possibly capture more time of past usage up to around 24 hours. As companies wait for the breathalyzer to become available in their area they can request from Minert to have oral fluid used in situations where very recent THC usage may be more applicable.

The goal for Minert & Associates is to oversee the availability of breathalyzer testing for all its clients. Ideally this would include all clinic and mobile testing. This coverage will unfortunately depend on size of the drug testing market of an area. Initially we may have a breathalyzer available at a nearby physical collection site but possibly not with the mobile collector. In rural locations we may not have either options. Currently at the end of 2023 there are no collection sites providing the breathalyzer for cannabis testing. By the end of 2024 we hope to have some options to give our clients with this new technology.

The one thing to remember with this new product as in any industry is that there will be other competitors that enter the market. With this competition costs will decrease but for now each collection site will have to evaluate when they acquire this testing option. Please reach out to Minert & Associates to discuss current testing methods that you can more closely identify recent THC usage and also timelines when the breathalyzer could be in more area.


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