A new drug test is so sensitive that it can tell whether a person has been exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke.
As marijuana becomes increasingly acceptable around the country, virtually everything associated with the plant is preparing to be revamped for the 21st century. While this may mean futuristic smoking devices and wild new recipes, it also means that the technology used to test for the active ingredients is getting better too.
According to a press release from the American Chemical Society, a new study published in the journal Analytical Chemistry outlines a method for detecting levels of THC and its metabolites in urine so minute that it will be possible to determine if a person had been exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke.
Present-day drug tests can detect a significant amount of THC in urine, and this is more than useful for determining if a prospective employee or a person of interest has been using marijuana recently. When a person is exposed to secondhand smoke, the levels of THC in the bloodstream are so low that current tests cannot detect it.
Researchers want to be able to detect secondhand smoke in the urine to determine if spending time around smokers is harmful to a person’s health even if they choose to abstain.
They used high performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry equipped with positive electrospray ionization mode to quickly and accurately detect THC metabolites in urine samples. The new method is up to 100 times more effective than present day drug tests, and can be used for large-scale population studies.