Researchers at an American university have developed a prototype of an app that is designed to help cannabis users determine how high they are by completing a series of simple tasks. The app, called Am I Stoned, aims to help those who have used marijuana to determine their level of impairment while making it easier to see the substance’s effects.
University of Chicago researchers assessed whether a computer or smartphone app could assist cannabis users in measuring their level of impairment.
A group of 24 healthy test participants, who stated they did not use marijuana on a daily basis, were given a pill containing either 15 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the ingredient in marijuana that makes people high, or a placebo.
Then, according to a report by the Daily Mail, the participants were asked to complete a series of simple tasks, such as a memory game, coordination test, and reaction game, through a computer or smartphone app.
During the study, researchers were able to detect impairments caused by THC consumption using three out of four computer-based tests and one task on an iPhone.
Lead researcher and University of Chicago Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience professor, Dr. Harriet de Wit, hopes the app will improve drug safety.
“One of our long-term goals is for the app to improve the safety of cannabis use by making individual users more aware of their impairment,” said de Wit.
“By gathering data from users in the field, the app will also contribute to the overall scientific knowledge in terms of how cannabis affects users.”
Participants were asked to tap images of flowers based on a previously displayed sequence, tap circles in rapid succession, and even shake their smartphone when a blue dot displayed on the screen.
The researchers discovered that, on average, impaired individuals responded more slowing than the control group, though states that more research is necessary to create conclusive results.
“The effects of THC on performance may be subtle, so we need highly sensitive tasks to detect impairment,” said doctoral student Elisa Pabon.
“It is likely that the computer tasks, which took 15 to 20 minutes to complete, were more sensitive to THC impairment because they provided more opportunity to detect a drug effect.”
The app isn’t designed to determine whether a person is safe to engage in specific activities, like driving. However, researchers hope to release an app, with precision improvements, that can help cannabis users gauge their level of impairment outside of a lab setting.