This article was published on CannabisFN
Marijuana has been legalized in some form in 27 US states – including four that have legalized recreational marijuana – and an additional 16 states may legalize the drug in one form or another over the next year. Add that in along with Canada’s new Prime Minister vowing to legalize recreational Marijuana on a national scale in the near future, and it is easy to see why state regulators and law enforcement officials have been scrambling to develop and enforce marijuana related laws to protect the public.
One of the largest spotlights thus far has been placed on driving under the influence of marijuana, and how exactly to regulate it. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 18 states have zero tolerance or non-zero per se laws for marijuana, nine states have zero tolerance for THC or a metabolite, three states have zero tolerance for THC with no restriction on metabolites, five states have specific per se limits for THC, and only Colorado has reasonable inference laws for THC. The problem is that currently THC must be determined by a blood, urine, or saliva test that’s difficult and invasive.
Cannabix Technologies Inc. (CSE: BLO) (OTCQB: BLOZF) aims to make roadside marijuana tests possible for law enforcement and less invasive for individuals. Using a technique known as mass spectrometry, the company is developing a handheld device that analyzes the chemical compounds in breath to determine and measure the presence of THC – the psychoactive component of marijuana that law enforcement is interested in gauging. One of the major problems thus far has been condensing a 500 lb. mass spectrometer into a handheld device that can easily be used without a PhD in molecular chemistry.
In a recent corporate video, the company outlined the need for a cannabis breathalyzer and detailed its innovative Cannabix technology:
Securing a License
Cannabix Technologies began working with the University of Florida’s Dr. Yost last year to optimize the high-field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry (“FAIMS”) cell for detection of trace amounts of THC through exhaled breath. Since then, the team has made consistent progress towards the development of a FAIMS-based hand held breathalyzer that could become an invaluable tool for law enforcement agencies.
In early February, the company exercised its option to license U.S. Patent 8,237,118 from the University of Florida for the area of breath analysis of controlled substances. The exclusive worldwide license for controlled substances usage marks a key milestone in the company’s corporate history and solidifies its intellectual property portfolio.
In addition to the license, the company indicated that it would renew its agreement with the University of Florida to continue to development of its FAIMS-based marijuana breathalyzer in order to ultimately bring it to market. The company will also be presenting at PITTCON in early-March – the largest annual laboratory sciences conference and exposition in the world – to present some of its findings in the area of breath testing for THC.
Commercializing a Solution
Cannabix Technologies’ breathalyzer would determine whether someone has THC in their system within the last two hours of consumption. If successfully rolled out, the technology would provide a much better solution than cheek swabs that produce inaccurate results, blood tests that are extremely invasive, or behavioral tests that rely on subjective opinion. The technology would also provide a critical measure of “recency” to avoid implicating drivers that are no longer high.
The University of Florida’s Yost Research Group has demonstrated the ability to detect ultra-low levels of THC in simulated breath using their FAIMS cell in conjunction with mass spectrometry. In the past, Dr. Rick Yost has conducted research involving over 100 graduate students, funded by over $40 million in grants, and which led to the publication of over 160 papers and 16 patents that have resulted in $30 billion worth of commercial sales.
The need to accurately measure THC in roadside tests is growing in importance with the prospect of marijuana being legalized in over half of the United States (and all of Canada). In early February, the company announced its intent to raise up to $1 million in a non-brokered financing at $0.15 per unit (common share and $0.25 warrant) to finance these plans and bring its innovative technology to a market that’s very much in need.
Aside from investors in the cannabis industry, investors in law enforcement stocks, like Digital Ally Inc. (NASDAQ: DGLY) and Security Devices International Inc. (OTCQB: SDEV), or laboratory analysis stocks, like NanoString Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: NSTG) and NeoGenomics Inc. (NASDAQ: NEO), may want to take a closer look at the stock given these new catalysts.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.cannabixtechnologies.com.
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