The Cognalyzer

By BCB Staff Writer | May 21, 2020

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Everyone is familiar with breathalyzers. Now, cannabis tech is translating the equipment to help law enforcement target those driving under the influence of cannabis.

The Cognalyzer detects whether or not a person has recently consumed a product containing THC

Zentrela, a Canadian tech company, claims there is a way to measure brainwaves to indicate whether or not the person is driving under the influence of THC. The Cognalyzer, as it’s being called, is an electroencephalogram (EEG) device mounted to a headband. It tracks brain wave frequency and detects whether or not a person has recently consumed a product containing THC; it is also said to measure the impact of THC on the brain.

Through a $1 million grant from the Ontario government, the Cognalyzer is being further researched for potential use for law enforcement and business owners. This technology is set to replace roadside saliva tests; results populate within five minutes, and the subject’s mental state, and whether THC is involved, becomes readily available. 

Although this machine could easily be implemented in a squad car, catching those coming home from a midday smoke was not the initial plan. Instead, the Cognalyzer was created for a workplace scenario to figure out if the subject was high at the current moment. Zentrela is a business founded upon two pillars: safety in the workplace and the cannabis user experience. When the Cognalyzer was invented, it came as a way to combat the false positives previous testing scenarios had produced. Currently, it’s the most accurate measure available for the THC effect, according to the Zentrela website. In addition to noting whether a person is under the influence, the Cognalyzer also has the capability to collect specific objective data about the THC in a product, which then pairs with any existing subjective product information.

 

Zentrela, a Canadian tech company, claims there is a way to measure brainwaves to indicate whether or not the person is driving under the influence of THC. The Cognalyzer, as it’s being called, is an electroencephalogram (EEG) device mounted to a headband. 

 

There isn’t much information about the reliability of test results, as the mass production of the Cognalyzer has not yet begun. Zentrela is currently conducting a study to test the authenticity of the software and is welcoming 19-55-year-olds to participate. The testing location in downtown Hamilton needs to be reached through public transit to reduce the risk of driving home impaired; the ride home on either Uber or Lyft will be paid for. The study will be conducted over a 60-90 minute span, in which cannabis and snacks will be provided. Following the study, participants will be compensated. Participants can take one of a half dozen tests, including a “cannabis test,” “alcohol test,” “normal test,” i.e., the control group, “fatigue and drowsiness test,” “migraine test,” or the “anxiety test.” 

This is in no way a clinical trial; instead, it’s serving to validate the market value of the Cognalyzer to track a variety of influences. Though cannabis is the main influencer tracked throughout this test, it’s important to also monitor a control group as well as other known stimulants and depressants. There’s no update on when the machine will hit the market; it’s still in the product testing phase, but if it could become a more reliable and quicker scale than the current body fluid analyses being administered.

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