Journal Article

Psychomotor Performance, Subjective and Physiological Effects and Whole Blood Δ<sup>9</sup>-Tetrahydrocannabinol Concentrations in Heavy, Chronic Cannabis Smokers Following Acute Smoked Cannabis

David M. Schwope, Wendy M. Bosker, Johannes G. Ramaekers, David A. Gorelick and Marilyn A. Huestis

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 36, issue 6, pages 405-412
Published in print July 2012 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online May 2012 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/bks044
Psychomotor Performance, Subjective and Physiological Effects and Whole Blood Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Concentrations in Heavy, Chronic Cannabis Smokers Following Acute Smoked Cannabis

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Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the illicit drug most frequently observed in accident and driving under the influence of drugs investigations. Whole blood is often the only available specimen collected during such investigations, yet few studies have examined relationships between cannabis effects and whole blood concentrations following cannabis smoking.

Nine male and one female heavy, chronic cannabis smokers resided on a closed research unit and smoked ad libitum one 6.8% THC cannabis cigarette. THC, 11-hydroxy-THC and 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC were quantified in whole blood and plasma. Assessments were performed before and up to 6 h after smoking, including subjective [visual analog scales (VAS) and Likert scales], physiological (heart rate, blood pressure and respirations) and psychomotor (critical-tracking and divided-attention tasks) measures.

THC significantly increased VAS responses and heart rate, with concentration-effect curves demonstrating counter-clockwise hysteresis. No significant differences were observed for critical-tracking or divided-attention task performance in this cohort of heavy, chronic cannabis smokers. The cannabis influence factor was not suitable for quantifying psychomotor impairment following cannabis consumption and was not precise enough to determine recent cannabis use with accuracy.

These data inform our understanding of impairment and subjective effects following acute smoked cannabis and interpretation of whole blood cannabinoid concentrations in forensic investigations.

Journal Article.  4313 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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