The Medical News

The Medical News

Forensic chemist Jan Halámek is proving that our own perspiration not only gives away how drunk we are – but if we are high, too. Through new research, published in December's edition of ACS Sensors , the Halámek lab has captured the ability to detect a person's marijuana-use based on contents in a small skin secretion that can be taken from fingerprints or any other sweat glands. This discovery builds on the lab's concept for a roadside testing kit to be used by law enforcement. In November, Halámek introduced a prototype for a color-changing test strip that detects blood alcohol content (BAC) based on ethanol levels in sweat. Currently there is a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to marijuana use and operating machinery," said Halámek, an assistant professor of chemistry at the University at Albany. "While many states are moving to various stages of legalization, the focus is mostly on possession and in-home use. There are no reliable roadside devices being used to test for marijuana-impaired driving. What makes the use of sweat as a biometric unique is that it is non-invasive. No blood needs to be drawn for a sample. Our test can be done instantaneously, on the side of the road, which eliminates any possibility of tampering." Jan Halámek, assistant professor of chemistry at the University at Albany How it works Similar to the alcohol test strip, Halámek's analysis to detect marijuana relies on a color change. However, instead of ethanol levels in the sweat sample, this test reacts to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the main psychoactive component found in marijuana plants and its extracted forms including liquids (THC oils) and edibles (brownies, cookies, gummies, etc.) Related Stories