Deuterium labelled delta 1-tetrahydrocannabinol was administered intravenously (5.0 mg) and by smoking (10.0 mg) to five heavy and four light marihuana users. All subjects smoked an estimated amount of 8.6-9.9 mg delta 1-tetrahydrocannabinol. The plasma levels of delta 1-tetrahydrocannabinol were followed for 48 hours and in two subjects fof 72 hours after administration. The systemic availability after inhalation calculated from the area under curve values was in the range of 27 +/- 10% for the heavy users and 14 +/- 1% for the light users. There was little difference between the groups with regard to the amount of smoked delta 1-tetrahydrocannabinol or plasma levels and area under curve values obtained after i.v. administration. Thus, it seems likely that the statistically significant difference in systemic availability of smoked delta 1-tetrahydrocannabinol was due to a more efficient smoking by the heavy users. It is also indicated that heavy users prefer slightly higher delta 1-tetrahydrocannabinol plasma levels than light users. Based on the area under curve values after i.v. administration, a plasma clearance of 760-1190 ml min-1 was calculated. The elimination half-life of delta 1-tetrahydrocannabinol is more than 20 hours. The present results do not suggest that tolerance or sensitivity to delta 1-tetrahydrocannabinol in heavy users is readily achieved.