Potalyzer – The THC Testing Mechanism

by | Aug 16, 2017

Written by Kristina Etter

Kristina is a digital content creator and designer. She has a talent for creating engaging and informative content that resonates with our professional audience. Kristina’s passion for the cannabis industry stems from her belief that it has the potential to revolutionize the world in many ways, and has a personal testimony of cannabis success.

With many of the states embracing the use of marijuana legally, there could be an increasing number of accidents especially if people decide to drive under the influence of cannabis substances. Hence, it is of utmost importance that a testing device is available that can help the police to detect whether any person is driving under the sway of this drug. It is the drive for manufacturing such a device that caused technological research in this area.

As of now, the police are trying out potential tools, but none are sufficiently accurate in detecting the correct percentage of THC, which is the most potent psychoactive agent of the drug. The common norm is to screen for THC in urine samples or in blood samples.  

The need for something like the breathalyzer that detects the alcohol content prompted the Stanford University engineers to develop a portable device that can precisely detect the THC content from the saliva sample, calling this device a Potalyzer.

|Science and Working of the Potalyzer|

The Potalyzer works on the basis of magnetic nanotechnology and immunoassay’s biochemical technique. A saliva and THC antibodies mixture sample is taken and put on a chip cartridge. The THC antibodies bind with any THC molecules already present in the saliva. The disposable chip cartridge comprises of magneto-resistive sensors that are pre-coated with THC which is then inserted into a handheld reader.


Now, the THC contained on the sensor binds with the remaining antibodies present in the saliva mixture. Since you are aware of the amount of the THC antibodies initially mixed in the saliva and the THC molecules on the sensors, the amount of sensor THC molecules that were bound to the antibodies give an indication of how many molecules from the saliva used up the other THC antibodies.


The next step is that the magnetic nano-particles that are specifically created to get themselves bound to the THC antibodies are introduced to the sample. What each of the nano-particle does is it sticks itself to a THC-antibody pair. The molecules sufficiently close to the surface of the sensor trips the magneto-resistive sensors. The Bluetooth technology is then used as a communication means to display the results on the screen.

|Detection Range of THC Content|

There is no specific concentration level declared so far as being too much to drive under. The Potalyzer does not only detect the presence of THC but also gives you an indication of the concentration of it in the saliva. The Potalyzer can efficiently detect the THC concentration within the range of 0-50 nano-grams in every millimeter of saliva. 


The technology behind the Potalyzer is definitely revolutionary for the law enforcement unit. The law enforcement can effectively use the Potalyzer to get results of the THC content in the saliva sample in a short span of a few minutes.