Tech Update: Cannabix Technologies Re-Invents the Marijuana Breathalyze

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Could a marijuana breathalyzer work in the field? Cannabix Technologies Inc.(CSE:BLO) thinks they have the technology to make it happen.

Last November, Cannabix filed for patents on their cannabis-based Ignition Interlock Device. And this January they announced that the Beta 3.0 Cannabix Marijuana Breathalyzer is finally ready for field trials.

Recently, Cannabix announced that they updated their original model with critical technological enhancements to mainstream the breathalyzer. Ion sources were upgraded and slimmed down to improve stability and transportation. The new prototype also comes with a tunable detector, which law enforcement officers can use alone or combine with existing test equipment.

The Latest Developments

Cannabix’ recent progress with their breathalyzer comes right in time for law enforcement officers looking for tools they can easily pair with the Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer (MS). The MS is the toxicology test typically used in forensic labs. It is considered to be the cutting edge of forensic toxicology tests, and a successful breathalyzer should be able to connect easily and transfer information with existing MS equipment.

Cannabix developed their prototype to work with the MS specifically. According to Cannabix, the Marijuana Breathalyzer passed the company’s preliminary bench tests. It detects THC both on its own and in tandem with the MS, fulfilling the company’s goals. Not only is the breathalyzer compatible with the MS, the prototype successfully measures THC intoxication in the breath.

Of course, a breathalyzer is supposed to register intoxication through breath. But THC is not alcohol. It is a difficult drug to measure. Typical toxicology tests take a urine or saliva sample to find accurate intoxication levels. THC can linger in the bloodstream long after the effects wear off, making marijuana impairment difficult to accurately test. Cannabix wants to deliver a tool that can be used at traffic stops to detect intoxication efficiently and in real time.

What About The Market?

When Cannabix first revealed their plans to develop a marijuana breathalyzer, the stock reflected the company’s optimism. Prices jumped nearly 50 percent, and over 1 million shares were purchased that day.

But is the technology more than just hype? Experts speculate that it is almost too soon to tell. The marijuana market is unpredictable, and there are still a few technological kinks to work out when it comes to legally testing and measuring marijuana intoxication.

Other companies are addressing the obstacles and racing to develop their own marijuana breathalyzers. Judicial Testing Systems in the United States is working on a roadside model to test for cannabis as well as cocaine, methamphetamine, and opiates. But their new equipment is limited to liquid samples and cannot check breath, which puts Cannabix ahead of the game.

On the other hand, San Francisco-based Hound Labs is in the process of testing their breathalyzer in the field with law enforcement in California where recreational marijuana use is already legal.

Cannabix Technologies is currently trading at CAD$2.55 per share with a market cap of CAD$232 million.​

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