Journal Article

Distribution of 11-Nor-9-Carboxy-Δ<sup>9</sup>-tetrahydrocannabinol in Traffic Fatality Cases

Dong-Liang Lin and Reng-Lang Lin

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 29, issue 1, pages 58-61
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI:
Distribution of 11-Nor-9-Carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol in Traffic Fatality Cases

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11-Nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-COOH) distributions in postmortem specimens are rarely reported. Fifty New Jersey State Medical Examiner's cases in which automobile accident deaths suspected of involving marijuana intake were studied for the distributions of THC-COOH in postmortem urine, blood, vitreous humor, and bile specimens. Cases were selected based on immunoassay (TDx) urine test results. If the preliminary urine test indicated the presence of THC-COOH (apparent THC-COOH concentration ≥ 20 ng/mL), urine, heart blood, vitreous humor, and bile specimens from the case were analyzed for THC-COOH concentrations by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The mean, standard deviation, and range of THC-COOH in heart blood, urine, and bile found in these 50 cases were 0.081, 0.082, and 0.016–0.33 µg/mL; 0.314, 0.415, and 0.044–2.33 µg/mL; and 12.9, 11.4, and 1.03–43.7 µg/mL, respectively. THC-COOH was absent (detection limit, 1 ng/mL) or at low concentration (< 10 ng/mL) in vitreous humor specimens. The mean, standard deviation, and range of the bile-to-blood and urine-to-blood ratios were 242, 196, and 17.2–888 and 4.70, 4.05, and 1.14–19.2, respectively. The highest concentrations of THC-COOH were found in bile and the lowest in vitreous humor. These findings are consistent with the high hydrophobicity nature of THC-COOH and further suggest that bile is the specimen of choice for detecting low level of THC-COOH in postmortem cases.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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