Excretion patterns of cannabinoid metabolites after last use in a group of chronic users

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1985 Nov;38(5):572-8. doi: 10.1038/clpt.1985.226.


The urinary excretion patterns of 86 chronic cannabis users were examined after their last cannabis use by two common screening methods, the semiquantitative EMIT-d.a.u. and the qualitative EMIT-st (Syva Company). We demonstrated that under very strictly supervised abstinence, chronic users can have positive results for cannabinoids in urine at 20 ng/ml or above on the EMIT-d.a.u. assay for as many as 46 consecutive days from admission, and can take as many as 77 days to drop below the cutoff calibrator for 10 consecutive days. For all subjects, the mean excretion time was 27 days. Subject excretion patterns were clearly biphasic, with initial higher rates of excretion not sustained. During the subsequent period of leveling off, most subjects had one or more separate sequences of cannabinoid-negative urine test results, lasting a mean of 3 days each and followed by at least one positive result. Demographic, body type, and drug history variables proved to be only moderate predictors of excretion patterns. Findings were discussed in the context of potential clinical and forensic application.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cannabinoids / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / urine*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Time Factors


  • Cannabinoids