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

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.

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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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