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Brain Monitoring Used to Detect Cannabis Impairment

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Advanced Brain Monitoring, Inc. (ABM), a neuro-diagnostic device company specializing in acquisition and analysis of brain activity (EEG) during wake and sleep, announced $1.5 million awarded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to develop and validate the Cannabis Impairment Detection Application (CIDA), a fieldable, easily-applied system to generate a cannabis-related impairment index using wireless EEG/ECG with tablet-based neuropsychological tests.

“The need for quantifying cannabis impairment is increasingly urgent as legalization has outpaced the scientific understanding of the drug’s effects on behavior, health, and safety,” said Chris Berka, ABM CEO and Principal Investigator for the project. “ABM is leveraging prior success in characterizing EEG biomarkers for cannabis impairment.”

Unlike alcohol, measures of cannabis presence in blood, breath, or urine are not valid for quantifying impairment. With the incidence of driving-under-the-influence and post-crash tests positive for cannabis rising sharply in states legalizing cannabis, law enforcement and regulatory agencies need more accurate detection technologies.

Building on successful achievements of a multi-year collaboration with the University of Iowa’s National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) involving drug effects on driving and brain activity, the team will conduct controlled cannabis dose-response studies with an alcohol comparison to assess the sensitivity and specificity of the CIDA.

“This research fills a critical gap and will help us to understand how cannabis impacts driving performance and brain activity, and to distinguish between drug-present and drug-impaired driving,” said Dr. Timothy Brown, Director of Drug Impaired Driving at the NADS.