Zentrela reports new technology could be applied in the field by law enforcement and employers
A Canadian company claims it has created a device that is capable of accurately measuring an individual’s level of cannabis impairment based on a reading of that person’s brainwaves.
Hamilton, Ont.-based Zentrela has developed “the Cognalyzer,” electroencephalogram (EEG) device that resembles some kind of space-age headband. When applied, it is said the device can collect and analyze a user’s brainwaves to evaluate the inebriating effects of THC, the intoxicating compound in the cannabis plant, on the wearer’s brain.
Zentrela noted the new technology could be applied in the field by law enforcement and employers, who have, thus far, been limited to saliva swab tests or invasive blood and urine tests to detect cannabis-induced intoxication.
Company founder and CEO Israel Gasperin said the device uses a proprietary algorithm that takes just minutes to provide an analysis of an individual’s brainwaves. “Within five minutes, employers and law enforcement will have a result of the mental state of their subjects,” Gasperin told CBC News.
The Cognalyzer is in the clinical trial phase, said to be undergoing testing by KGK Science. If third-party trials are deemed successful, it is possible the technology could be applied by law enforcement agencies such as the Ontario Provincial Police.
Ontario’s provincial government recently awarded Zentrela a grant totalling $1 million to evaluate whether the device could replace saliva swab tests, which have been a topic of controversy within the legal and medical communities and test for the presence of cannabinoids, not impairment.
But despite the province’s hopes, Gasperin said the device wasn’t designed to replace the saliva tests. “The opportunity of commercializing our technology is not at roadsides. We are not replacing saliva tests. We are complimenting saliva test results.”
Gasperin also believes that the tech could be used by employers, despite the fact that employee drug testing is a legal minefield in Canada.
“Employers are having the same issue [as police] in administering random drug tests,” Gasperin said. “It’s limited evidence and their employees know it’s limited evidence, and they are legally challenging any decision taken and it’s costing thousands of dollars to employers. Now they will have that confirmatory evidence to eliminate false accusations and strengthen their safety practices to mitigate the risk of impairment,” he argued.
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Written by Emma Spears