Between driving and saliva test, French law remains severe
In France, a prohibitionist country par excellence, motorists can take a saliva test during a simple check. The goal is to detect cannabis among other substances.
The saliva test for cannabis screening in France
Le screening test is mandatory in a fatal car accident. However, it is optional if the accident only resulted in material damage, a traffic violation or the agent suspects consumption (for example if he feels an odor escaping from the vehicle).
However, during a routine check-up, a test may also be done.
The police or gendarmerie will be able to search for four families of substances: cannabis, cocaine (including crack), opiates and amphetamines. We can thus see that French law includes in the same whole and without distinction all the products that it classifies as “drugs”.
A saliva test can be performed directly at the time of the control. On the other hand, if a urine test for cannabis screening is done, a special place as well as the presence of a doctor is mandatory.
The result comes in a few minutes. In case of challenge from the driver, a blood test may be performed.
In the case of amphetamine and certain opioids provided as part of medical treatment, a positive result may appear. The motorist must provide all the supporting documents.
However, in the context of medical cannabis, if you are undergoing treatment abroad and undergo a test in France, the situation can be more complex. And for good reason, molecules from cannabis have a duration of persistence in the body that exceeds that of the effects.
Saliva tests indicating past consumption but no change in present behavior
Concretely, this means that we can still have THC molecules in the body, without the psychoactive effects.
Indeed, unlike alcohol, a screening test does not indicate whether the driver is sober or not. It comes from the way THC is metabolized in the human body. In addition, the component that screening tests try to spot is a derivative of THC called THC-COO-glucuronide. As this molecule is not psychoactive, regulation in terms of driving will be difficult to adapt.