How to measure cannabis intoxication has been an unsolvable equation, despite the spread of legalization. Roadside blood tests and breathalyzers can detect THC in our bodies, but tolerance and time of consumption dramatically affect how impaired we really are. Regular users can still have high amounts of THC in their blood after not consuming pot for more than a day, while novice users can be significantly impaired hours after smoking, despite not having high enough THC levels in their blood to be deemed legally impaired.
University of Colorado Boulder professor Cinnamon Bidwell and her team of researchers have been trying to crack that code, using a mobile laboratory to study 121 regular users before, during and after smoking cannabis flower or concentrates by conducting tests around memory, balance and cognition. The findings, released in June, showed that although cannabis users were impaired up to an hour after consumption, the potency of products — ranging from 16 percent THC for flower to 90 percent for concentrates — didn’t correlate with how stoned the participants scored.
Cinnamon Bidwell: There is certainly a role for tolerance here, but it also begs the question about the THC levels in blood being so high….
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