Smartphone sensor statistics could pinpoint cannabis intoxication with 90 percent precision

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Technology is advancing and adapting to the needs of the modern world. Aside from the convenience and entertainment that electronic gadgets offer users, it seems that technological devices may also prove useful for law enforcement officials amid the rise of the legal cannabis industry.

A new study has revealed how to determine if someone is intoxicated after consuming the green plant by using nothing more than a smartphone sensor. What’s more, the sensor – which works in a similar fashion to a traditional GPS system – can detect the level of intoxication with 90 percent accuracy. Comparatively, saliva, urine and blood tests are much more limited.

The research, which was led by Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, is featured in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Specifically, the research focuses on the feasibility of using sensor data and time features to assess cannabis intoxication..  

How did researchers use a smartphone sensor to determine cannabis intoxication levels?

Researchers analyzed daily data gathered from young cannabis-consuming adults that were using the plan at least twice weekly.

Phone surveys, self-initiated reports of cannabis consumption, and continuous phone sensor data was analyzed as part of the report.

Based on the analysis, whereas the time of day and the day of the week had 60 percent accuracy in detecting self-reporting of cannabis intoxication, the mixture of features and smartphone sensor data could analyze cannabis intoxication with 90 percent accuracy. 

Tammy Chung, who serves as the professor of psychiatry, said that “the phone’s sensors may help us detect when a person is experiencing cannabis intoxication and deliver a brief intervention when and where it might have the most impact to reduce harm.”

A researcher-released statement showed that researchers used low burden methods — tracking time of day and day of the week and analysing phone sensor data — to detect intoxication in daily life. The study demonstrated that the feasibility of relying on phone sensors to understand subjective intoxication from cannabis use was powerful.

Dangers of cannabis intoxication

The global cannabis industry is growing on a monumental scale, with analysts predicting that it will be worth USD $91.5 billion by 2028. Although the plant has demonstrated significant therapeutic promise and efficacy, cannabis -depending on the strain – is renowned for causing intoxication in users. 

For example, this research report revealed how people may feel relaxed, euphoric and/or hungry after cannabis consumption. Moreover, cannabis intoxication could hinder a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks safely, what with the plant possessing mind-altering effects. 

Some other undesirable side effects include dry mouth (cottonmouth,) impaired motor skills and perception, red eyes, sudden blood pressure spikes and reduced short-term memory. 

Nonetheless, numerous U.S. states have recognized the plant’s medicinal qualities, with 36 and the District of Columbia having already legalized cannabis for medical purposes.