THC driving limits: William Breathes is still (still!) waiting for blood test results

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Two weeks ago, with Rep Claire Levy's marijuana DUI bill headed for debate in the Senate, I went and got poked with needles in hopes of finding out just how much THC is in my blood when I'm sober. Unfortunately, I still don't have an answer.

Two weeks ago, I had $300 worth of tests run by Any Lab Test Now in Englewood, thinking that they would be able to provide me with an accurate count of how much active THC is in my system. (You can read all about that adventure here.) As it turns out, though, they had no clue what I was asking for.

The ridiculously high count of 859 nanograms per milliliter of blood that I got back was impressive, but it represented how much THC, both active and inactive, I had stored up in my body. And my blood samples with Any Lab Test Now could not be tested again -- not that it mattered, since their normal tests can't detect active THC anyway.

On Monday, the lab tech from Any Lab Test Now called me and said that Quest Diagnostics could run the blood, but that it would be around $800 to test for active THC. That price sounded way too high, so I went over her head and called Quest directly this morning. After a half-hour of talking with a laboratory technician, I was told I could get a test for Delta-9 THC-COOH (stored THC) and for Delta-9 THC (active) for around $200. All I needed was a doctor's recommendation for the blood work.

Thankfully, Dr. Alan Shackelford, a physician with Amerimed, is sympathetic to our cause and wrote my prescription for the blood work. Shackelford, who was in charge of writing regulations on medical marijuana health and safety for the Colorado Department of Revenue, has been open about his opposition to the proposed THC DUI bill as it stands. Shackelford said he is in the process of putting together a more scientific group study into blood THC levels, possibly in conjunction with the state, but said our little experiment is a good first step.

So, at 2 p.m. today, I went to Quest Diagnostics on South Broadway and gave blood for a second time. Like last time, I hadn't smoked since 9 p.m. the night before, and was completely sober at the time of my test. The lab techs assured me that this time around, the results will be the ones I want. But unfortunately, they might not be here in time for the Senate hearing on HB 1261, scheduled for Monday. My guess is still that my levels will be much higher than the 5 nanogram threshold, but I can't be for sure until the results come in. Keep your fingers crossed...

As soon as the results come in, we'll post them here.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana and driving impairment: Rep. Claire Levy on setting a standard in Colorado."


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22 comments
lab test online
lab test online

The site is very interesting, made some valid observations and the theme is the point. I choose to add your website to your favorites so you can do to another date.Regards, 

lab test online
lab test online

The site is very interesting, made some valid observations and the theme is the point. I choose to add your website to your favorites so you can do to another date.Regards, 

Joseph, 303 Organics
Joseph, 303 Organics

so where are the lawsuits they(just about every canna-lawyer, read the article to see names) said would happen? It's been almost a year since this article was published. if you all truly respected and had any kind of passion for law this is a total kick in the balls, which apparently none of the canna-lawyers have. guess they don't want to lose their meal ticket cause we all know their making bank off all of this.

http://blogs.westword.com/late...

Anonymouse
Anonymouse

One can order a $75 pocket breathalyzer off the internet and get their BAC on-the-spot within a small margin of error. What options do THC consumers have?

How will HB 1261 take into account that regular THC users are, as documented in peer-reviewed studies, able to compensate for their impairment to a degree which makes them far safer than even 100% sober drivers?

How will Colorado businesses cope with the new standard for driving impairment that prevents them from demonstrating to a satisfactory degree that their on-the-clock drivers aren't stoned before they get on the road? Get ready to be sued, businesses!

How does Colorado law enforcement justify a 1:4 success rate with the 600+ drivers per month they're dragging into the hospital for a blood draw? That's right, only 1 driver for every 5 tested is coming back impaired. What kind of Gestapo state are we living in that allows the cops to be so wrong and get away with it?

THC mixed with alcohol produces an additive effect on impaired driving but THC by itself leads to demonstrably safer driving, especially with experienced drivers.

Be ready for another circus on Monday, I'm sure the forced drug-treatment and law enforcement clowns will be out in numbers again.

LarryQ5
LarryQ5

I guess the first place you went to needs to change their name to "Almost Any Lab Test"...

one very pissed-off taxpayer
one very pissed-off taxpayer

Rep Claire Levy is an IDIOT. Colorado is in a major recession and her and her IDIOT fellow lawmakers ramrodded a poorly written / poorly researched new law that WILL COST COLORADO EVEN MORE MONEY WE DON'T HAVE. All this to solve a problem that doesn't even exist.

Nice work Rep. Levey.

Guest
Guest

I wonder which testing facilities would be profitting as a result of this bill......

Hermit
Hermit

BAC tests are pretty cheap, but $200 / test? WTF? Who is going to pay for this fiasco? If it's the taxpayer, how is that going to work with tightening budgets? If it's on the patient's nickle, then being forced to pay for a blood test before you can be charged with anything is like paying for the bullets at your execution.

I can see it now, ....Sir / Maam, before we can charge you with anything, will that be credit or debit for your blood test which might or might not destroy your life, depending on the choice of standard we use? Sorry, you were declined, you're going to debtor's prison for vagrancy and you can work off the blood test. We will charge you for it and if you were stoned, well we'll talk about the further criminal charges when the results get back. We love you, brought to you by Carl's Jr.

William Breathes
William Breathes

thanks for commenting guys. lets hope the results come in by Friday.

Anonymous
Anonymous

So let me get this straight... the police can forcibly have your blood drawn if they suspect you of driving high (or they just want to be a asshole), but if you want to have your blood drawn and tested for your own reasons you have to get a doctor's permission?

I do believe our world is fucked beyond repair.

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

Thanks for taking one (OK, four) for the team William. Don't forget to use this story next time someone whines about what a "Kush" job you have, getting paid to smoke kind bud...

Oo
Oo

yeah it is bizarre to me how all these lawyers act like they have their hands tied stopping this type of thing from happening.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Interesting observations, Anonymouse. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

RickyD
RickyD

Looks to me like his article said Any Lab Test Now COULD do the test so why would you say "almost"? Sounds like there was a communication bread-down, which happens. Any Lab Test Now is a great place to get blood work done if you don't have insurance...they don't need a doctors note and they have saved me hundreds of dollars vs Quest and LabCorp who rake you when you need blood work done and don't have insurance.

rutherford
rutherford

cry me a f*ckin river... this dork does have an easy job. what? with all the week knee reviews and the bullshit perspective of the recent H.T. fiasco..... i'm so over this dude

Guest
Guest

Medical marijuana is a potential cash cow for politicians, doctors, lawyers, dispensaries, state and federal agencies, electric companies, garden centers, lab testing facilities, and even for some nonprofit advocacy groups. For many it's all about $$$ at the expense of patients instead of what's the right thing to do. Lawyers want their cut too...and they want this to remain an issue in the legal system....job security.

I think we need a checkbox on the cdphe mmj application so patients can choose to donate $10 to a legitimate fund dedicated to protecting patient rights (similar to donating to a political party at tax time) that could only be used to pay lawyers. $100 vs $90 a year for mmj is nominal....and ten dollars multiplied by thousands of patients adds up quick.

William Breathes
William Breathes

Ricky,

the lab tech I worked with at ALTN admittedly didn't know what I was asking for initially. They assumed initially that I wanted to know my total THC nanogram per milliliter count, which the tests did show. Unfortunately, i needed *active* THC -- something she also admitted she had to learn about after I informed her that the results weren't what I was expecting to get. Was it frustrating? sure... but it's really indicative of a larger problem: it shows just how little information is out there on THC and other cannabanoids. I found myself explaining active vs. non-active to even the lab techs at Quest that I spoke with who would be running the actual tests.

Second, I was told over the phone by that same tech it was $800 through quest for one test. I'm not saying that's her fault, though, as someone could have told her that info wrongly as well -- just like whoever told you that two tests were $800 when two tests to determine residual and active THC would really would be $400.

-WB

LarryQ5
LarryQ5

Ok, so call it Any Lab Test Now with results from a test you didn't order but will get the results you really ordered for a mere extra $800. So how much stock do you own in this company?????

RickyD
RickyD

Obviously there was a mistake but on who's end???? I called and asked about pricing on a blood test specifically for THC through Quest and was told it was not $800 for 1 test but for 2 tests and where ever I got that information was wrong. Will should have mentioned that. I have been to this lab several times and have never had a problem and to see them being trashed isn't right so yeah, I'm gonna stick up for them-doesn't mean I own stock...wish I did though!

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