Scientist: Trayvon Martin’s Marijuana Use Had Nothing to Do with the Night He Died

Associate professor of psychology at Columbia University Dr. Carl Hart writes in the New York Times why the small amounts of marijuana found in Trayvon Martin’s body are irrelevant to George Zimmerman’s murder trial. Dr. Hart, who has a new book out called High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society, explains how his research and expertise make it clear that Martin’s marijuana use had nothing to do with the night Zimmerman shot and killed him.

Zimmerman’s lawyers have attempted to argue that Martin’s pot-smoking may have made him “agressive” and “paranoid,” but Hart says that logic is seriously flawed. Here’s why:

As a neuropsychopharmacologist who has spent 15 years studying the neurophysiological, psychological and behavioral effects of marijuana, I find this line of reasoning laughable. The toxicology exam, which was conducted the morning after Mr. Martin was killed, found a mere 1.5 nanograms per milliliter of blood of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in his body. This strongly suggests he had not ingested marijuana for at least 24 hours. This is also far below the THC levels that I have found necessary, in my experimental research on dozens of subjects, to induce intoxication: between 40 and 400 nanograms per milliliter. In fact, his THC levels were significantly lower than the sober, baseline levels of about 14 nanograms per milliliter of many of my patients, who are daily users. Mr. Martin could not have been intoxicated with marijuana at the time of the shooting; the amount of THC found in his system was too low for it to have had any meaningful effect on him.

Some observers of the case note that the toxicology test also found 7.3 nanograms per milliliter of THC-COOH, one of the main metabolic byproducts formed as the liver breaks down THC. But these metabolites of marijuana have no psychoactive properties, and they have no effect on behavior. They can also remain in the body, like THC itself, for up to four weeks. This is why their presence does not reveal when — or exactly how much of — the drug was used.

– Read the entire article at AlterNet.



  1. Dave on

    What happens south of our border eventually makes it up here. So here’s hoping they don’t screw with Jury Independence. The stand-your-ground law is the problem here. I’m sure this type of legislation spawned from inbreeding. I mean the ruling class are dinkin each other… and looks like they’ve been doing it for a while now.

    The way i see it, a person with a gun followed then cornered a man without a gun, even after police advised that he stop following, then killed the unarmed man but was found guilty of nothing. Wow!

    The Jury has spoken and that is what it is but I mean laws that say he did nothing wrong is definitely wrong; am I wrong? Are American that scared of each other?

  2. Anonymous on

    Martin got shot because he violently attacked someone who he hated for being light skinned.Martin was the racist and a violent criminal too!Not the 12 year old innocent child represented by the photo,an adult sized 17 year old thug.

  3. Anonymous on

    wait, did you just call someone who got shot for literally no reason other than he was black, young, and had a hoodie on, a two bit thief? I have to ask because I can’t exactly tell if that’s what you were going for, and if it was, you’re a racist piece of crap who needs to do some fact checking. There’s no excuse for ignorance.

    if that’s not what you were saying, I apologize for being so rude.

  4. foam on

    pos and got what he deserved. pot and race would have nothing to do with it except for the fact that ambulance chasers are out to make money off the deal.

  5. gutrod on

    What a pile of crap. If Martin was stoned and paranoid he would have run for his life. In that case we wouldn’t be talking about his murder trial. Like many white teenagers he experimented with pot which is fairly normal behavior for teens who also experiment with alcohol. There is no proof that marijuana induces violence. Quite the opposite if you care to look at it’s history. Zimmerman is racist, which is the root of cannabis prohibition laws in the first place.