New Device Capable of Detecting Marijuana Intoxicationadmin
“I met way too many parents who didn’t need to lose their children because somebody consciously made a decision to get behind the wheel when they were impaired by marijuana,” Denise Valenti, a certified optometrist and creator of the IMMAD – or “Impairment Measurement Marijuana and Driving”, said.
Unlike breathalyzers and blood alcohol tests which police officers can use to determine whether or not a driver has been drinking, prior to IMMAD, no such test has existed, so Valenti decided to create one.
After an individual consumes marijuana they suffer from a loss of peripheral vision and lose the ability to see the complete range of light frequencies a sober person is able to identify. Valenti developed a virtual reality headset where grayscale stripes of different frequencies flash around a small black dot. Users are instructed to hit a bluetooth button when they see a stripe and their responses are logged on a smartphone wired device.
“The result is predictable:”, BostInno reports, “impaired drivers do not pick up on all the stripes a sober driver would.”
“Marijuana causes temporary paralysis of the cell operating in the retina. So when you have certain neurologic deficit in your retina, you just can’t see the stripes,” Valenti said. “If you can’t see, you can’t drive.”
But before these devices can be placed in the hands of police officers, additional testing and research needs to be done. There are also legal hurdles that need to be overcome (for example, under Massachusetts law, researchers cannot get subject high for scientific testing), and approvals by both the court system and the Food and Drug Administration before they can truly be put to use.