Oakland Based Lab Debuts Breathalyzer For Weed

(Image via Hound Labs)

(Image via Hound Labs)

One of the biggest obstacles for police has been having a clear set of guidelines for how much THC is too much in the bloodstream when it comes to determining if someone is too high to drive. As they stated, “…some states are not waiting to reach a consensus on how much THC is too much to drive. Washington and Montana have set a limit of 5 nanograms/milliliter (ng/mL) of blood, while Pennsylvania has a 1 ng/mL limit.”

The founder of Hound Labs, Mike Lynn, speaks more about how this breathalyzer can hopefully help to make this system less random in an interview with The Washington Post;

“Right now the standards are completely arbitrary. I would argue that they are useless,” Mike Lynn, the chief executive of Hound Labs, said, noting that existing tests cannot determine whether a person smoked an hour ago or 12 days earlier.

While Hound Labs’ device is designed to measure THC levels from smoked pot, it cannot provide evidence of impairment by itself.

“Our ability to measure THC in breath really should shift the national dialogue from one about simply detecting if THC is in someone’s body to a conversation where standards can be developed that reflect actual impairment,” Lynn has said.

While this product is still in the early stages, Hound Labs hopes to have it ready by the end of next year. They say it will price its product at about $1,000, which is in line with the average alcohol breathalyzer.


  • Ali Alterman

    but the machine can’t tell if you smoked pot within an hour, or yesterday, or last week. All it can tell is that you smoked pot. Useless for roadside sobriety (but does tell you if someone inhaled!)

    • theseeker1111

      Not my understanding from researching this (I think you may be confusing this with his statement that current tests (ie blood/urine) can not distinguish.

      My understanding is that this device will give a very realistic measurement of just how much THC is currently affecting the person.

      The problem then of course is that we have no real understanding of what level of THC constitutes impairment. Nor even if there is such a magic number. ie_ I think we are all aware that a hit or two can affect people wildly differently- depending on their tolerance. We also do not have an understanding about what role the relationship of different cannabinoids might play.

      I do think that there is a potential place for a tool like this in cases drivers having combined alcohol and cannabis. Though in those cases a standard field test should show impairment. But maybe it can help us understand the relationship between the two intoxicants.