UCLA chemists have reported the key chemical discovery needed for the creation of a small, electronic marijuana breathalyzer. The analysis is revealed in Organic Letters, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society.
The legalization and decriminalization of marijuana in California and elsewhere have made marijuana detection particularly important, stated senior creator Neil Garg, UCLA’s Kenneth N. Trueblood Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and chair of UCLA’s department of chemistry and biochemistry.
While Darzi and Garg have found the chemistry that would be on the core of a marijuana breathalyzer, they haven’t created a precise device. “We’ve got established the fundamental proof of concept,” stated Garg, who obtained the 2018 Robert Foster Cherry Award—which is the largest college teaching prize in the U.S., awarded by Baylor University—and was called the 2015 California Professor of the Year.
Darzi and Garg developed an easy oxidation course like that utilized in an alcohol breathalyzer. Oxidation is the lack of an electron from a molecule. The group removed a hydrogen molecule from THC (whose full title is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Alcohol breathalyzers convert ethanol to a natural chemical compound, and hydrogen is lost through the oxidation course
Darzi and Garg report two methods to do the oxidation of THC. Their preferred, cheap strategy is to utilize power supply.