B.C. developer of cannabis breathalyzer conducts tests with human subjects

Cannabix Technologies provides update on THC breath analyzer.

Cannabix Technologies seeks to provide a THC breath analyzer for law enforcers and employers.

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A B.C. company developing a cannabis breathalyzer announced that it has been performing human tests.

Cannabix Technologies Inc. said that the tests aim to improve its THC breath analyzer model.

The device detects Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is the psychoactive component of cannabis.

Cannabix operates out of Burnaby.

Its current 2.0 THC Breath Analyzer (THCBA) model serves as a precursor for a more advanced device.

“The THCBA device currently provides results in under five minutes,” the company said about the TCH breath analyzer under development.

Cannabix hopes to provide a cannabis breathalyzer for law enforcement agencies and employers.

Breath analyzers designed for alcohol measure alcohol content in a person’s blood through the individual’s breath sample.

Cannabix issued a media release Thursday (August 13) about the status of its cannabis breathalyzer.

The company explained that the user testing procedure “includes a baseline breath sample prior to the subject smoking cannabis”.

Subsequently, samples will be taken after subjects smoke cannabis at multiple times up to a minimum of two hours.

To clarify, the law prohibits driving when impaired by THC.

The B.C. government explains online that police can request a person to provide a sample of breath or blood. Police officers can do so if they have “reasonable grounds” to believe a person is driving impaired.

One commits a crime, moreover, if the person has two nanograms (ng) or more of THC in their system within two hours of driving. Furthermore, penalties increase if there is more THC in a person’s system.

The law also punishes driving while impaired with both alcohol and cannabis.

Cannabix works with UBC prof

In its media release, Cannabix stated that ongoing tests aim to further train the THC breath analyzer’s  machine learning database.

Company engineers have also been focusing on device scalability, and other aspects, like reducing production costs.

Cannabix works with UBC engineering professor Mina Hoorfar in developing a cannabis breathalyzer. Hoorfar runs UBC Okanagan’s Advanced Thermo-Fluidic Lab.

“Advances in microfabrication and nanotechnologies are enabling us to work at a smaller scale and with improved sensitivity,” Hoorfar said in a UBC media release on February 6, 2020.

According to Hoorfar, the development of a THC breath analyzer responds to a need by regulators in North America.

Follow Carlito Pablo on Twitter at @carlitopablo

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