Prevalence of Five Commonly Analyzed Cannabinoids in Forensic Toxicology Casework from Orange County CA, USA for 2016 – 2019
Over the last 25 years, marijuana laws have been changing throughout the United States of America. California started legalizing medicinal marijuana in 1996 and has since continued to relax laws. Compared to Washington and Colorado, there is little data on how the changing laws have affected the cannabinoid detection rate in California. This paper looks at the prevalence of five cannabinoids (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), 11-hydroxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (Hydroxy-THC), 11-nor-9-carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (Carboxy-THC), cannabinol, and cannabidiol) in Orange County, CA for 2016 through 2019. From 2016 – 2017, after legalizing recreational marijuana, there was an increase in the presence of THC, Carboxy-THC and Hydroxy-THC in postmortem and major crime cases, consisting mostly of sexual assaults. However, driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) saw a slight decrease. In 2018, when shops could be licensed to sell marijuana to anyone over 21 years old, there was an increase seen in all five cannabinoids for DUID and postmortem cases. The age group from 21 – 30 years old had the most prevalent cannabinoid use in all case types for all years except in major crime cases in 2019 where < 21 years old was the most prevalent. Surprisingly, the > 50 years old group in death investigation cases was a close second in prevalence in all years which differs from DUID and major crime cases.
Keywords: Cannabinoids; Prevalence.
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