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Paediatric Laboratory Medicine

Cannabinoid Metabolite (U)

Clinical Significance

Marijuana is currently the most widely used illicit drug in North America. Marijuana has a variety of street names. Some of the more common ones are: acapulco gold, colombian, ganja, grass, hemp, Jamaican, jive sticks, joint, panama red, panama gold, pot, reefer, thai sticks, and weed. Marijuana consists of a mixture of plant products, such as leaves and stems. Hashish is more potent and is comprised of dried cannabis resin and compressed flowers. Highly potent hashish oil is obtained by extracting delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol from hashish, or marijuana, with an organic solvent. Marijuana, hashish, and hashish oil are obtained from the plant Cannabis sativa. There are at least 20 active cannabinoids, but the main psychoactive ingredient is delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol. 

The effects of smoking marijuana begin almost immediately, usually in two to three minutes. At lower doses the peak effect is seen at 10 to 20 minutes, and the duration of effect is 90 minutes to two hours. At higher doses, the duration of action may last up to three to four hours.  Low to Moderate Doses: At low to moderate doses, 5 mg of delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol or less, the user may experience CNS (Central Nervous System) and behavioural effects such as disinhibition, garrulousness, relaxation, drowsiness, feeling of well-being, euphoria, distortions of the perception of time and distance, increased auditory and visual acuity, enhanced tactile and olfactory senses, spontaneous laughter, impairment of recent memory, mild confusion, decreased concentration, decreased muscle strength and balance, impaired ability to perform complex motor tasks, fearfulness, anxiety, and panic or even mild paranoia. High Doses: At high doses, 10-30 mg delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol or more, intensification of the low-dose effects may occur as well as any of the following: synesthesias, pseudo-hallucinations, impaired judgment, slowed reaction time, confusion, impaired performance of simple motor tasks, depersonalization, pronounced paranoia, agitation, extreme panic, and even true hallucinations.

Test Name

Cannabinoid Metabolite (U)

Alternate Name/ Synonym

Marijuana, THC (delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol), Hash

Test Code

ITHCU

Drug Class

Psychotropic

Division

Toxicology

Method

Abbott Architect ci4100

External Proficiency Testing

QMPLS, CAP

Turn Around Time

Daily, Stat

Specimen Type

Urine, Miscellaneous Fluid(s)*

Minimum Specimen Requirements

1.0 mL

Storage/Transportation

4°C (transport with a cool pack if possible)

Special Requirements

*Miscellaneous Fluid(s): phone Toxicology Laboratory (416-813-5906) for availability on specific fluid

Approval is not required

CPT Codes

80101

Shipping and Contact Information

The Hospital for Sick Children
Rapid Response Laboratory
170 Elizabeth Street, Room 3642
Toronto, ON
M5G 2G3
Canada
Phone: 416-813-7200
Phone: 1-855-381-3212

Therapeutic Range

Not detected

Critical Values

Not Detected < 50 ug/L 

Positive > 51 ug/L