Last updated: September 25, 2023
In July of 2018, a company in Oakland, California announced that a marijuana breathalyzer would soon be on the market. It’s been a long two years, but the wait is nearly over. The first units, set to be released before the end of this year, are already reserved. Not everyone who has signed up to be among the first to receive the marijuana breathalyzer will get them before the end of 2021 though.
Still, they’re coming and once production is cut loose, the units will revolutionize the drug testing industry.
Mapping out the road between marijuana legalization and employee drug testing is still pretty bumpy. Many employers kept marijuana on the company drug test despite legalization within their state because, like alcohol, it causes impairment. There’s no room for that in the workplace—ever!
Advocates for legalization believe that’s unfair, though, because drug testing for marijuana identifies drug metabolites which stay in the users system long after the time of impairment has passed. Of course, this should be a moot point because whether or not it’s legal, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work is dangerous for the user and for anyone around them.
You know what they say about the squeeky wheel though, right?
A mellow frame of mind
A marijuana high lasts between two and ten hours depending on a number of different factors.
- The amount of marijuana consumed
- How much tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the drug contains
- Body mass index and weight
- Individual metabolism
- Whether or not you’ve eaten
- Your tolerance level
- Was the drug smoked or eaten
The amount of time that it takes to feel the effects of the drug depends on several factors as well.
- Smoking or vaping takes between two and ten minutes because the drug enters your bloodstream via your lungs within minutes of inhaling.
- Eating the drug slows things down and one can expect to experience the effects in thirty minutes or an hour because the drug must enter the digestive system and go through that process to enter the bloodstream. The effects of the drug may be felt longer after eating it, however.
- Dabbing consists of smoking a highly concentrated form of marijuana through a special pipe. The THC content is much higher, therefore, the user obtains a high almost instantly.
How long does it last?
The length of time that someone feels the effects of marijuana vary greatly as well. It depends, primarily, on the dose and potency. It makes sense that the amount of the drug used and the potency of the THC it contains determine how long impairment lasts.
Another factor in determining how long the high lasts is the way it was consumed.
- Smoking 0r vaping—The effects peak around 10 minutes after using and typically last from one to three hours.
- Eating—It takes about two hours to experience peak effects after ingesting edibles but they can last up to 24 hours.
- Dabbing—We mentioned you experience the effects of the THC almost instanteously and remain buzzed for one to three hours. However, if the THC concentrate is really high, the effects can last for an entire day.
Metabolites are their downfall
Even if someone uses marijuana on their off hours they are still subjecting themselves to the possibility of failing a drug test. Most drugs disappear from the system within a few days—at the most—after discontinuing use. However, marijuana metabolites accumulate in the fat cells while awaiting secretion from the body. Unfortunately, for marijuana users, they remain long after the point impairment.
- Someone who uses occasionally may have metabolites in their body for up to ten days.
- A person who uses daily can test positive for marijuana for up to forty-five days.
- A chronic user could retain metabolites in their system for up to 60 days—or longer.
CBD user beware!
Cannibinol (CBD) users might test positive for marijuana too because the extraction process collects THC too. With no regulations in place, the amount of THC is virtually unknown unless the company performs independent testing.
Even if the packaging proclaims zero levels of THC, many companies have no idea if that’s a true statement or not. CBD users need to do their homework and make sure they are purchasing from a reputable company or they may wind up with an unpleasant surprise upon failing the company drug test.
The light at the end of the tunnel
The long awaited release of the Hound Labs marijuana breathalyzer is nearly at an end. Police departments and employers, alike, will soon have an available tool to test for current impairment. And, it’s going to be as simple as blowing into a machine!
Will the marijuana breathalyzer put an end to the flack that more and more employers have had to endure these past few years as legalization began to spread across the nation?
Hound Labs says so.
Ultimately, time will be the judge of that and, in the meantime, we’ll hope for the best.
Hope springs eternal
Employers drug test because they want to provide the safest working environment possible for their employees. Workers deserve to come to work without fear of whether or not they’ll be involved in an accident caused by someone who is under the influence of drugs—whether it’s marijuana, methamphetamine, or any mind-altering substance.
Drug testing is a huge deterrent—many addicts won’t even apply for a job if they know there’s going to be a pre-employment drug test. Others may wind up testing positive which alerts you to the fact that they have a problem.
The way you present the individual with the results could make them realizing that they have a serious problem and need to seek help.