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J Anal Toxicol. 1999 Sep;23(5):323-32.

Urinary excretion of 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabinoids in frequent and infrequent drug users.

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National Institute of Forensic Toxicology, Oslo, Norway.


Urinary excretion of 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THCCOOH) and cannabinoids was monitored in prison inmates. Urinary specimens were collected up to five times per day. EMIT (cutoff 20 ng/mL; EMIT20) and gas chromatography (GC) (cutoff 10.3 ng/mL, LOD 1.4 ng/mL) were used for cannabinoid screening and THCCOOH confirmation, respectively. Urinary creatinine concentrations were recorded. Of the samples with positive EMIT screens, 78% were confirmed by GC analysis. The plotting of THCCOOH/creatinine ratios (THCCOOH/C) versus time gave smoother excretion curves than THCCOOH concentrations alone. Based on THCCOOH/C the first 5 days after the last reported intake, the mean urinary excretion half-life was 1.3 days in infrequent users, and a median of 1.4 days was found in frequent users. In the latter group, apparent terminal urinary excretion half-lives up to 10.3 days were observed. The last positive specimens were found after 4 days for THCCOOH with cutoff 15.0 ng/mL (NIDA/SAMSHA), 5 days for THCCOOH with cutoff 10.3 ng/mL, and 12 days for cannabinoids (EMIT20) in infrequent users and after 17, 22, and 27 days, respectively, in frequent users. Increases in urinary cannabinoids were sometimes found without concomitant increase in THCCOOH or THCCOOH/C. One subject admitted new cannabis intake, after which marked increases in THCCOOH and THCCOOH/C were observed. In others, new intake was suspected. Considerable variations between consecutive specimens were also observed in THCCOOH concentration and THCCOOH/C ratio without suspicion of a new intake.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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