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Are You Still High?

By Adam L. Moore

In humans, cytochrome P450 contains three primary enzymes involved in the metabolism of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP3A4). These enzymes are mostly found in the liver, but can occur in other lipophilic tissues like brain, small intestine, heart, and lungs. THC elimination in the body is dictated by the accumulation of the compound in both adipose tissue and plasma and, due to the lipophilicity of THC, the determination of the concentration through excretion is difficult (1,2). Likewise, states have passed regulations allowing for the legal use of both medicinal and recreational cannabis while workplaces in those states continue to dictate safety regulations with a zero tolerance drug policy culminating in a urine test to determine compliance.

Figure 1. Urine sample spiked with 3 ng/mL of THC metabolites.
Figure 2. Most abundant THC metabolites.

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