Urinary excretion profiles of 11-nor-9-carboxy-Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Study III. A Delta9-THC-COOH to creatinine ratio study.Forensic Sci Int. 2003 Nov 26; 137(2-3):196-202.FS
Huestis and Cone reported in [J. Anal. Toxicol. 22 (1998) 445] that serial monitoring of Delta9-THC-COOH/creatinine ratios in paired urine specimens collected at least 24h apart could differentiate new drug use from residual Delta(9)-THC-COOH excretion following acute marijuana use in a controlled setting. The best accuracy (85.4%) for predicting new marijuana use was for a Delta(9)-THC-COOH/creatinine ratio > or = 0.5 (dividing the Delta9-THC-COOH/creatinine ratio of specimen no. 2 by the specimen no. 1 ratio). In previous studies in this laboratory [J. Anal. Toxicol. 23 (1999) 531 and Forensic Sci. Int. 133 (2003) 26], urine specimens were collected from chronic marijuana users > or = 24 h or > = 48 h apart in an uncontrolled setting. Subjects with a history of chronic marijuana use were screened for cannabinoids with the EMIT II Plus cannabinoids assay (cut-off 50 ng/ml) followed by confirmation for Delta9-THC-COOH by GC-MS (cut-off 15 ng/ml). Creatinine was analyzed as an index of dilution. The objective of the present study was to evaluate whether creatinine corrected specimens could differentiate new marijuana or hashish use from the excretion of residual Delta(9)-THC-COOH in chronic marijuana users based on the Huestis 0.5 ratio. Urine specimens (N=376) were collected from 29 individuals > or = 96 h between urine collections. The mean urinary Delta9-THC-COOH concentration was 464.4 ng/ml, mean Delta9-THC-COOH/creatinine ratio (ng/(ml Delta9-THC-COOH mmoll creatinine)) was 36.8 and the overall mean Delta9-THC-COOH/creatinine ratio of specimen 2/mean Delta9-THC-COOH/creatinine ratio of specimen 1 was 1.37. The Huestis ratio calculation indicated new drug use in 83% of all sequentially paired urine specimens. The data were sub-divided into three groups (Groups A-C) based on mean Delta9-THC-COOH/creatinine values. Interindividual mean Delta9-THC-COOH/creatinine values ranged from 4.7 to 13.4 in Group A where 80% of paired specimens indicated new drug use (N=10) and 20.4-39.6 in Group B where 83.6% of paired specimens indicated new drug use (N=7). Individual mean Delta9-THC-COOH/creatinine values ranged from 44.2 to 120.2 in Group C where 84.5% of paired urine specimens indicated new marijuana use (N=12). Correcting Delta9-THC-COOH excretion for urinary dilution and comparing Delta9-THC-COOH/creatinine concentration ratios of sequentially paired specimens (collected > or = 96 h apart) may provide an objective indicator of ongoing marijuana or hashish use in this population.