A new public health app by DRUID® measures factors to give an overall score of impairment, evolving the classic idea of drug testing
The legalisation of cannabis highlights the need for a paradigm shift in how we measure impairment. Opponents of the legalisation of cannabis as medicine and /or for “recreational” use typically raise a number of arguments related to public health and safety. These issues include impaired driving and being impaired at work. When cannabis was illegal everywhere, employers and law enforcement could employ a “zero-tolerance” policy, and the drug testing industry developed techniques to identify cannabis use.
Drug testing, law enforcement and the workplace
As cannabis is legalised around the world for medical use, however, this drug testing approach will no longer be of any value. Since using cannabis as medicine will no longer be a crime, the presence of it in the body is irrelevant. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that blood tests for THC that are used by most states in the U.S. have “no scientific value” and little relationship to impairment. This is true for all similar biological “proxy” measures of impairment. Clearly, we must find another method to protect the public health and safety.
DRUIDapp, Inc. has developed a new public health app that is an objective measure of impairment from cannabis or any source – anything that impairs reaction time, hand-eye coordination, balance and the ability to perform divided attention tasks – it is called DRUID (an acronym for “DRiving Under the Influence of Drugs”) available now in the App Store and Google Play. DRUID measures reaction time, decision making, hand-eye coordination, time estimation and balance, and then statistically integrates hundreds of data points into an overall impairment score. DRUID takes just 2 minutes. DRUID allows cannabis users (or others who drink alcohol, use prescription drugs, etc.) to self-assess their own level of impairment and (hopefully) decide against driving if they are impaired. Prior to DRUID, there was no way for an individual to accurately assess their own level of impairment.
How does DRUID® work?
DRUID® requires users to perform four tasks that measure reaction time, decision making, hand-eye coordination, time estimation and balance, with three of the tasks being divided attention tasks. Hundreds of measurements are integrated statistically and transformed to an overall impairment score, ranging from 0 to 100; most scores are between 30-70. A typical BASELINE score for DRUID® is generally in the range of 32-42.
In our data, DRUID® scores show the highest level of impairment within 30-45 minutes of beginning cannabis inhalation, and then a decrease over a period of 2-3 hours, as would be expected as the body processes the psychoactive components. The screenshot of the DRUID® graph shows how a person’s impairment begins at their baseline, increases following consuming cannabis, reaches a peak and then declines.
Scientific validation of DRUID®
DRUID® is an innovative approach, different from other brain performance apps. The DRUID® app was designed to measure impairment from cannabis, alcohol or other sources, e.g., prescription drugs, fatigue from sleep deprivation or overwork.
Since many people understand the impairment associated with different levels of alcohol in the blood, DRUID® was tested with alcohol-drinking volunteers. Richman and May (2019) collected DRUID measurements on volunteers at multiple Police Academy “wet labs,” in which volunteers drink alcohol to get their blood alcohol levels above .08, providing subjects on which police cadets can practice learning the Standard Field Sobriety Test. The volunteers used DRUID® prior to beginning drinking and then again when they had reached the target blood alcohol level. As can be seen in the graph, the average DRUID® impairment score of the drinkers when they stopped drinking was higher than all the sober “baseline” scores.
This year, DRUIDapp, Inc. received a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health to conduct dosage-controlled studies of cannabis administration. DRUID is being used by cannabis researchers at Yale, Johns Hopkins, the University of Kentucky and UC Boulder. One of the top cannabis researchers in the U.S., Dr. Ryan Vandrey of the Johns Hopkins Medical School has conducted dosage-controlled studies of cannabis administration and using DRUID. His data show that DRUID is able to discriminate impairment from different levels of cannabis consumption – 0mg, 5mg and 20mg for both edibles and vaporising.
Impairment testing is the future of public safety
In order to protect the public safety, we have to stop testing for drugs and start testing for impairment. Testing must be fast, accurate, and portable. We have to provide people with the information they need to make safe decisions and enforce laws without compromising individual rights.
Please note: This is a commercial profile