Marijuana is harvested from the flowering portion and leaves of the hemp plant. It is typically either green or brown in color and consists of shredded leaves, whole flowers (buds), stems, and/or seeds. Marijuana is typically smoked in a pipe, water pipe (bong), or rolled into a cigarette (joint). In recent years, marijuana has appeared in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana. Some users also mix marijuana into foods, such as brownies, or use it to brew tea. Typical marijuana contains over 400 known chemicals. THC (D9-Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the primary active ingredient in Marijuana and is responsible for producing the desired effects.
THC is converted into a number of metabolites, primarily D9-THC-COOH (11-Nor-D9-Tetrahydrocannabinol-9-Carboxylic Acid). This metabolite is the target compound for most types of marijuana urine screen tests. In the 72-hour urine, 2% of a dose is excreted as 11-hydroxy-THC (as a conjugate) and trace amounts as unchanged THC. The remainder of the urinary metabolites consist largely of conjugates of D9-THC-COOH and other unidentified acidic compounds, which persist in the urine for several weeks after a single dose. Urinary concentrations of D9-THC-COOH as high as 2,705 ng/ml have been observed in frequent users. Passive inhalation of marijuana smoke has resulted in urinary D9-THC-COOH levels as high as 39 ng/ml as measured by a specific assay.
Hashish is marijuana that has been processed into a concentrated "brick" form. As a result, it contains a higher concentration of THC than unprocessed marijuana. Hashish is found in many colors, ranging from gold to black. Hashish is typically smoked in a pipe or a water pipe, often combined with marijuana.
Hashish oil is marijuana that has been processed into a concentrated liquid form. This form of marijuana contains the highest concentration of THC. Hashish oil is typically dark brown to black in color. It is usually smoked in a pipe or a water pipe, often combined with marijuana.
Dronabinol is synthetically produced THC which lacks the 400 chemicals and carcinogens associated with marijuana. It is prescribed to AIDS patients to stimulate the appetite and to cancer patients to soothe nausea associated with chemotherapy. Dronabinol is administered orally in capsule form.
THC contained in Dronabinol is processed by the body in a fashion similar to that of THC in marijuana - with D9-THC-COOH as its primary metabolite. See Marijuana above.
Baselt, Randall C., and Robert H. Cravey. Disposition of Toxic Drugs and Chemicals in Man. Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, Inc., 1989.
Drug Photos from the IPRC Website. Indiana Prevention Resource Center. 07 Sept. 2001 <http://www.drugs.indiana.edu/prevention/iprcpics.html>.