Tar, CO and delta 9THC delivery from the 1st and 2nd halves of a marijuana cigarette

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1991 Nov;40(3):657-61. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(91)90378-f.


Previous in vitro studies suggest that, with successive puffs from a marijuana cigarette, delta-9-THC becomes concentrated in the remaining uncombusted portion of the cigarette. These observations are consistent with the common practice of smoking marijuana cigarettes to a smaller butt length than that to which tobacco cigarettes are smoked. The purpose of the present study was to compare the delivery of delta-9-THC, as well as total insoluble smoke particulates (tar) and carbon monoxide, from the distal ("first") versus the proximal ("second") halves of a standard marijuana cigarette during "natural" smoking of marijuana. On 4 separate days, ten habitual marijuana users smoked nearly all or approximately 1/2 of a standard marijuana cigarette (83 mm length; 800-900 mg; 1.24% THC), as follows: day 1, "whole" cigarette (60 mm smoked, leaving a 23-mm butt); day 2, "first" half (first 30 mm); day 3, "second" half (second 30 mm) after the "first" half was presmoked with a syringe; and day 4, "second" half after the "first" half was excised. A previously described smoking apparatus (20) was used for measurement of puff volume and inhaled tar. Puff volume and number were allowed to vary spontaneously (provided that the specified length of cigarette was consumed), while inhaled volume (1.5 liters), breathholding time (14 s) and interpuff interval (30 s) were held constant. Blood samples were withdrawn prior to smoking and serially after completion of smoking for analysis of blood carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) and serum delta-9-THC. Heart rate was measured before and 5 min after smoking. Subjects rated their level of "high" 20 min after completion of smoking.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Monoxide / pharmacokinetics*
  • Carboxyhemoglobin / metabolism
  • Dronabinol / blood
  • Dronabinol / pharmacokinetics*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Marijuana Smoking / metabolism*
  • Marijuana Smoking / physiopathology
  • Tars / pharmacokinetics*


  • Tars
  • Dronabinol
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Carboxyhemoglobin