Smoking weed? Your phone can detect if you’re high on marijuana

WION Web Team
NEW DELHIUpdated: Sep 28, 2021, 03:16 PM IST
main img
Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and Washington, DC have already legalised the recreational use of marijuana. Photograph:(Getty)

Story highlights

Researchers from the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research in New Jersey, United States, demonstrated that detecting cannabis intoxication using existing sensors found in most cellphones is possible in a report published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 

Researchers have revealed preliminary evidence that using smartphone sensors, it is feasible to detect if someone is high on cannabis.

The method uses information from the owner's smartphone to determine whether they are inebriated after taking cannabis.

The study was based on a survey of 57 young individuals aged 18 to 25 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

The subjects said they used cannabis at least twice a week, and the researchers examined data from their phones to determine if that was enough to figure out when they used it. 

“A smartphone sensor, much like what is used in GPS systems, might be a way to determine whether or not someone is intoxicated after consuming marijuana,” notes a study write-up posted on Rutgers Today.

In order to detect intoxication, the accelerometer - the phone's motion sensor – and GPS data were crucial.

The study was able to correctly identify 60 percent of the 451 cannabis usage episodes using only time factors such as day of the week and time of day.

When time features and smartphone sensor data were included in the analysis, the accuracy increased to 90%. 

Intoxication with cannabis has been linked to decreased response times, which can influence performance at work or school, as well as altering driving behaviour, which can lead to injuries or fatalities.

Existing screening methods, such as blood, urine, and saliva tests, have limitations as indications of cannabis intoxication and impairment in daily life.

(With inputs from agencies)