THC concentration in the human body over time

As is known, THC concentrations in blood plasma decrease rapidly after consumption. This is what causes people who use Cannabis to continue consuming it time and time again. This phenomenon occurs due to a body tissue dissipation process whose rate depends on blood flow characteristics and THC metabolism in the liver.

THC is a lipophilic molecule, which can penetrate the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and also accumulate in fat tissue. As THC accumulates in the fat tissue over time, it’s diffusion pattern changes and as a result, it slowly releases back into the bloodstream. This is the reason why THC can be detected in human blood up to 2 months after administration. In a post-venous study, higher THC levels were found in the lungs than in other tissues, and peak levels of THC were detected in the brain 2 to 4 hours after intravenous administration.

THC metabolism in the liver and the “first pass” effect

After THC is absorbed into the circulatory system, it is dispersed into the liver, where it is metabolized by Cytochrome CYP-450. The main metabolite of THC is 11-OH-THC, which undergoes secondary metabolism to the THC-COOH metabolite.

In oral administration of cannabis and absorption through the gastrointestinal tract, prior to absorption into the systemic bloodstream as happens when you smoke or vape Cannabis. THC first reaches the liver, where it is metabolized.  THC’s low absorption rate and concentration in plasma are very common after oral administration, in proportion to other delivery system and administration.

What are 11-OH-THC and THC-COOH metabolites?

THC’s primary metabolite 11-OH-THC has a similar, but not identical, physiological and psychoactive effect to THC. It has a higher potency and penetrates the blood-brain barrier (BBB) more easily in comparison to THC.  On the other hand, the secondary THC metabolite, THC-COOH, has no psychoactive effect, but it appears to play a role in analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.

THC evacuation from the human body

Within 5 days, 80-90% of THC evacuates from the body, mostly as11-OH-THC or THC-COOH metabolites. More than 65% is excreted through the stool and about 20% through urine. The main metabolite found in urine is THC-COOH acidic when attached to Glucuronide, whereas 11-OH-THC is the main metabolite in the stool. Evacuation of all Cannabinoids and their degradation products takes place up to 21 days after consumption.

About Cannabis GxP consultancy

Cannabis GXP is proud to stand at the forefront of the Cannabis industry in Israel and worldwide thanks to many years of experience in these areas.

Our team is compelled to spread the message of the importance of cannabis science, regulation and standardization as the world enters a new era of cannabis legislation.

We aim to position our clients with their best foot forward when it comes to anything and everything cannabis related.

Our vast expertise allows us to assist companies in a wide range of services and needs: Anything from Cannabis R&D, growing and manufacturing, new products development, facility design, technology, Quality Assurance, Good Practices (GAP/GMP/GLP/GDP/GCP), staff training, local and global regulations.

Cannabis GxP is a subsidiary company of Bio-Chem Ltd. (2007), a consultancy firm for the Pharmaceutical field, medical devices, Cosmetics and food supplements industry based in Israel.

Our cannabis consultancy services include:

  • Product development, delivery system & clinical trials
  • Growing, Manufacturing and Lab Facilities Design
  • Quality Assurance and Good Practices (GxP)
  • Cultivation & Product Manufacturing Technology
  • New product Regulations and Submissions
  • Qualification & Validation
  • Risk Assessment
  • Staff training

If you need one or several of our services, we will be more than happy to assist.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.