Are there any ways to test if you're too high to do things (like drive, be around other people, make an important presentation)? Sometimes I think I'm totally maintaining my chill, but then find out afterwards that I definitely didn't. How do I avoid this?!
— Chill Out
I totally feel you. One minute you're enjoying a nicely rolled joint and the next you're looking around back and forth, wondering if the folks around you can see your eyes bugging out of your head. Is it just a little high hiccup? Will the moment pass? Are you safe to drive home? Hell, are you safe to talk?! How can you tell?
Listen, I could give you a bunch of silly answers. For example:
"You know you're too high when you polish off four bags of Cheetos and when you look in the mirror you see Trump staring back at you."
"You know you're too high when you laugh at every joke you hear in The Emoji Movie."
"You know you're too high when you look around and are convinced that everyone near you is secretly talking about you, only they're using a secret language that makes it sound like they're talking about buying a new couch."
But these aren't helpful. So, what is?
You could definitely do an internal audit of sorts, where you review what you're feeling, thinking, or experiencing. But, if you're too high, you might have trouble remembering the last thing you thought, might start staring out into space, get distracted by how dry your mouth is, or just want to go take a nap. So what's a stoner to do? Thankfully, Michael Milburn a Professor in the Department of Psychology at UMass/Boston has come up with an app to help you figure out just how high you are. With DRUID, you can find out if you're too high to safely drive, or just high enough to embark on that new art project!
Milburn started dreaming up the idea for DRUID a few years back when he was sitting around with a friend who had just gotten a Volcano, and wondered if there was a way to test just how high a person was. It got his wheels turning. Last year, Milburn mentioned his idea to famed cannabis expert and author Dr. Lester Grinspoon over lunch. Grinspoon told the professor that he should create it, since the fact that there is no solid way of testing cannabis impairment was a huge argument against legalization. That was the push he needed, and now DRUID is a reality.
I downloaded the app to try it out myself. It's super user friendly and straight to the point. While sober, you take a bunch of fun, interactive tests to get a baseline for how you react to certain things. It took about five minutes and it felt like playing some fun online games. The real test is when you do those same tasks while high. DRUID will use the information it has to let you know whether you're impaired or not, so it's customized to each individual user.
So how accurate is DRUID? Milburn says that the more someone uses the app, the more you'll get reliable results. And, as someone who has worked with measurements and statistics for over 40 years, Milburn knows what he's talking about, and it's paying off. While DRUID is awesome for figuring out if you're too impaired from cannabis for certain tasks like driving or giving a work presentation, it's also has its place when it comes to achieving just the right amount of high for when you want to tackle a creative endeavor.
"My hypothesis would be that the effect of cannabis on creativity is curvilinear, so the most enhancement of creativity may be in moderate levels of impairment as measured by DRUID," says Milburn. "Really high levels can go to 'couch lock,' and that is not going to enhance creative thinking. Having the DRUID app available makes doing lots of different research studies much easier, so people can use it themselves if they have any interest in collecting data."
You can track your "highs" to see how productive (or not!) you were after one hit or one joint. Imagine what you could potentially discover about yourself and your cannabis habits.
Milburn also told me that DRUID will also be used for workplace safety testing. "The head of safety for a steel company in Michigan heard me interviewed on 'All Things Considered' and emailed me to say they had dangerous things happening on their shop floor all the time, and their workers need to have their wits about them," he explains. "He wants me to set up a demonstration of DRUID at his steel mill. He realized the pitch to workers about DRUID could be, 'Wouldn't you want to know that the guy driving the crane that is sending two tons of steel your way is not impaired?'"
I say, if it's good enough for Michigan steelworkers, it's good enough for you, dear reader. Plus, fiddling around with the app will give your mind a break from wondering if you're too high! Of course, there are other tools to help determine how stoned you are. For example, some companies are working on marijuana breathalyzers, which could be used to deter cannabis-impaired driving. It remains to be seen which technology will be the go-to standard for measuring how high you are, but the cannabis industry is working on it.