Sobriety testing with mobile devices and apps typically measure blood alcohol content (BAC). Edge Tech Labs, LLC’s DrinkMate plugs into Android smartphone mini-USB ports to render a BAC measure from breath. The BACtrack Skyn wristband measures transdermal alcohol content (TAC) in sweat. Substance abuse goes beyond alcohol, however. We also wrote about an ingestible opioid monitor under development by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine PhD student Elisa Pabon tested a prototype app designed to test cognitive impairment from THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Aptly named “Am I Stoned?”, the smartphone software assesses the subject’s memory, reaction time, and attention. In a study presented at the Experiential Biology 2018 conference in April, Pabon and co-author Harriet de Wit tested 24 “experienced non-daily cannabis users” in three 4-hour sessions. Subjects in the within-subjects double-blind placebo study consumed a placebo or a capsule with 7.5 or 15 mg of THC. After two and three-hour delays, the subjects completed smartphone app tests, computer tests, and self-assessments. Results from the initial tests showed a relationship between THC consumption and greater impairment, although impairment measured with the computer tests was greater than with the phone tests. The authors reported the phone tests were shorter than the computer tests, which may have made them less impacted by impairment. The self-assessments were generally accurate.
Pabon and de Wit plan more sensitive cognitive tests for subsequent studies. Other modifications for the future include psychomotor testing for cannabis-related impairment. The researchers also want to refine the self-assessment component of the tests to help cannabis users objectively evaluate their sobriety.