Blood test results in Georgia DUI marijuana cases typically are reported as: __ ng/mL of 11-nor-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid. 11-nor-9-Carboxy-THC, also known as 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, 11-COOH-THC, THC-COOH, and THC-11-oic acid, is the main secondary metabolite of THC which is formed in the body after Cannabis is consumed.
THC binds to cannabinoid receptors and interferes with important endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitter systems. Receptor distribution correlates with brain areas involved in physiological, psychomotor and cognitive effects. Correspondingly, THC produces alterations in motor behavior, perception, cognition, memory, learning, endocrine function, food intake, and regulation of body temperature.
THC is primarily metabolized to 11-hydroxy-THC which has equipotent psychoactivity. The 11-hydroxy-THC is then rapidly metabolized to the 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC (THC-COOH) which is not psychoactive.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recognized that the metabolite of THC in marijuana that is measured in Georgia DUI blood tests is not psychoactive, and if the metabolite is not psychoactive, it does not impair driving ability.
According to NHTSA:
It is difficult to establish a relationship between a person's THC blood or plasma concentration and performance impairing effects. Concentrations of parent drug and metabolite are very dependent on pattern of use as well as dose. THC concentrations typically peak during the act of smoking, while peak 11-OH THC concentrations occur approximately 9-23 minutes after the start of smoking. Concentrations of both analytes decline rapidly and are often < 5 ng/mL at 3 hours. Significant THC concentrations (7 to 18 ng/mL) are noted following even a single puff or hit of a marijuana cigarette. Peak plasma THC concentrations ranged from 46-188 ng/mL in 6 subjects after they smoked 8.8 mg THC over 10 minutes. Chronic users can have mean plasma levels of THC-COOH of 45 ng/mL, 12 hours after use; corresponding THC levels are, however, less than 1 ng/mL. Following oral administration, THC concentrations peak at 1-3 hours and are lower than after smoking. Dronabinol and THC-COOH are present in equal concentrations in plasma and concentrations peak at approximately 2-4 hours after dosing.
Suggested articles regarding DUI marijuana include:
Cannabis findings in drivers suspected of driving under the influence of drugs in Finland from 2006 to 2008. Tom Blencowe, Anna Pehrsson, Sirpa Mykkänen,Teemu Gunnar, Pirjo Lillsunde.Alcohol and Drug Analytics Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, P.O. Box 30, FI-00271 Helsinki, Finland. Received 18 May 2011; received in revised form 3 October 2011; accepted 4 October 2011. published online 24 October 2011.
The authors examined driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) cases which were found to be positive in whole blood for cannabis in Finland from 2006 to 2008. Factors studied were the number of cases positive for any combination of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the metabolites 11-hydroxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-OH) and 11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-COOH). Concurrent use of amphetamines, benzodiazepines and/or alcohol was also recorded, as well as the drivers' age and gender. Altogether 2957 cannabis positive cases were retrieved from the database of the Alcohol and Drug Analytics Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare. Drug findings were examined in relation to the zero-tolerance policy operated towards DUID in Finland. The number of cannabis positive cases in each year was approximately 1000 and the main demographic of cases was males aged 20–30years. In the majority of cases (51.6%) the inactive metabolite THC-COOH was the only indication of cannabis use, however, associated use of amphetamines (58.8% of all cases) and/or benzodiazepines (63.9%) in cannabis positive drivers was very common. Detections for amphetamines and/or benzodiazepines were especially common in drivers with THC-COOH only (92.8% of these cases). Combined use of alcohol (25.7%) was also prevalent. Suspect DUID cases generally arise from suspicion on behalf of the police and the zero-tolerance policy offers an expedient means to deal with the challenges presented in DUID, particularly in view of the high incidence of multiple drug use – the legislation is not unduly punitive when enforced in this manner.
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