What is THC-COOH?

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What is THC-COOH?

Many people don’t realize that standard drug tests don’t test for THC; they test for THC-COOH. But what is THC-COOH?

thc-coohTHC-COOH is the main secondary metabolite of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is formed in the body after cannabis is consumed. Most drug tests don’t test for THC; they test for THC-COOH.


The Science:

THC-COOH, also called 11-COOH-THC. is formed in the body by oxidation of the active metabolite 11-Hydroxy-THC (also known as 11-OH-THC) by liver enzymes. It is then metabolized further, forming a water-soluble congener which can be more easily excreted by the body.

Unlike THC, 11-COOH-THC is not psychoactive. It does have a much longer half-life, however.

Why Does this Matter?

THC-COOH has a long half-life that can stay in the body for many days. For heavy cannabis consumers, it can stay in the body for weeks or even months (up to 77 days according to one study). This means a drug test can be failed even if the person hasn’t consumed cannabis for weeks.

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More selective tests may distinguish between 11-OH-THC and 11-COOH-THC. If 11-OH-THC is detected it’s more of an indicator that cannabis was consumed recently.


Medical Properties:

Some studies have indicated that THC-COOH plays a role in the pain-relieving and antiinflammatory effects of cannabis. It has also been shown to moderate the effects of THC itself which may help explain the difference in subjective effects seen between occasional and regular users of cannabis.[13][14]


  • James.A. Meier
    February 7, 2017

    Education is the first step in making the people who are Leary of weed and not aware of the many health benefits of the blessed weed, keep up the good work, God bless

  • James.A. Meier
    February 7, 2017

    Great job on education keep up the good work

  • Janna
    September 9, 2018

    Thank you so much this was very helpful.

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