Sometimes the scientists get to be the lab rats. Lynn Kurtz works as a forensic toxicologist at the state crime lab in Missoula, Montana, where the staff has recently had occasion to drink beer—all in the name of science.
In October, Kurtz and his co-workers came across a letter to the editor of the Journal of Analytical Toxicology.
The letter writers had tested a beer called Hempen Ale to determine whether drinking the beer might lead to a urine test that showed positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The test struck Kurtz as a good idea.
Kurtz, other lab employees and acquaintances spent an evening drinking Olde Bongwater beer, brewed at Kettlehouse Brewing Co. in Missoula.
Olde Bongwater is a porter beer that substitutes hemp seed for barley and hops at certain stages of the brewing process. But post-drinking urine tests were negative for THC.
“We’re not really thinking there will be a problem, but it does give us the answer if someone tests positive (for THC) and then tries to say they’ve been drinking Olde Bongwater,” Kurtz said. “We’re just doing our little bit for science.”