Send to

Choose Destination
Ther Drug Monit. 1998 Oct;20(5):570-6.

Urinary excretion half-life of 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol in humans.

Author information

Chemistry and Drug Metabolism, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, USA.


The excretion of marijuana metabolites occurs over an extended period of time, yet few studies have been designed for accurate estimation of excretion half-lives. The authors monitored excretion of the primary urinary metabolite of marijuana, 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THCCOOH), by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in a controlled clinical study of marijuana smoking that included measurement of the drug in each urine void collected during the 3-week study. Terminal excretion half-lives of THCCOOH were determined in six healthy male subjects with histories of marijuana smoking; the study was conducted on the clinical research unit of a major medical institution. Subjects smoked a single marijuana cigarette (placebo, 1.75% or 3.55% THC) each week. Urine specimens (N=953) were analyzed under blind conditions for THCCOOH by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Mean+/-SEM half-lives calculated by the amount remaining to be excreted method after the low and high doses were 31.5+/-1.0 hours (range, 28.4 to 35.3 hours) and 28.6+/-1.5 hours (range, 24.9 to 34.5 hours), respectively, when a 7-day monitoring period was used. The amounts of THCCOOH excreted over a 7-day period were 93.9 +/-24.5 microg (range, 34.6 to 171.6 microg) and 197.4+/-33.6 microg after the low- and high-dose sessions. Longer half-lives, 44.3 to 59.9 hours, were obtained with a 14-day sample collection. This study documents the prolonged excretion of THCCOOH in urine and emphasizes the importance of study design in the precise estimation of terminal excretion half-lives. A sensitive analytical method and a prolonged specimen collection period are important study considerations in the monitoring of marijuana excretion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center