Marilyn A. Huestis, Ph.D.

Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Cannabinoid Pharmacotherapies


As an advisor to PinneyAssociates’ clients, Marilyn Huestis brings an extraordinary breadth and depth of expertise and experience in clinical and forensic toxicology, anti-doping, diagnostic screening and confirmation drug testing, and cannabinoid agonists and antagonists. Marilyn applies the following areas of expertise to clients’ needs:

  • Clinical and forensic toxicology
  • Diagnostic screening and confirmation drug testing
  • Cannabinoid agonists and antagonists


In 2016, Marilyn retired as a tenured senior investigator and Chief, Chemistry and Drug Metabolism Section, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, after 23 years of conducting controlled drug administration studies. Through her research, Marilyn focused on improving people’s lives by reducing deaths from drugged driving, finding novel medications to treat drug dependence and using drug testing as a tool for drug dependence treatment. Her research encompassed the mechanisms of action of cannabinoid agonists and antagonists, effects of in utero drug exposure, and the neurobiology and pharmacokinetics of novel psychoactive substances.

She also was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine until 2017.

Currently, she is a Senior Fellow at the Institute on Emerging Health Professions, Thomas Jefferson University, on the Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) Science Advisory Board, a Senior Scientific Advisor of NMS Labs, Consultant to the US Department of Transportation, and President of Huestis & Smith Toxicology, LLC. She additionally serves on the Organization of Scientific Area Committee on Toxicology, World Anti-doping Agency’s Prohibited List Committee, Transportation Research Board Committee on Alcohol and Other Drugs, and the National Safety Council’s Alcohol, Drugs and Impairment Division Executive Board.

She is past president of the Society of Forensic Toxicologists, past Chair of the Toxicology Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and past president of The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists.

Marilyn has published 474 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters and had more than 800 abstracts presented at national and international meetings.

The journal Clinical Chemistry featured Marilyn as an “Inspiring Mind”. Other important awards include the 2018 National Safety Council’s Borkenstein Award for her “significant and prolific contributions to forensic toxicology”, 2017 Sir Kenneth Standard Distinguished Lecturer for the University of the West Indies, 2016 Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine Orator, Melbourne, Australia, 2016, Marian W. Fischman Lectureship Award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, 2016, Saferstein Memorial Distinguished Lecturer at Northeastern University, 2015, Excellence in Scientific Research, Women Scientist Advisory NIDA Investigator Award, 2015, Norman P. Kubasik AACC Lectureship Award, 2015, Distinguished Fellow from the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), 2010, The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT) Alan Curry Award, 2008 American Association for Clinical Chemistry Outstanding Contributions in a Selected Area of Research Award, 2007, International Association of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicology (IATDMCT) Irving Sunshine Award, 2005, AAFS Rolla N. Harger Award, 2015, and Irving Sunshine Award for Outstanding Research in Forensic Toxicology, 1992.


  • Received a Doctor Honoris Causa from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki in Finland
  • Received her doctorate in toxicology with honors from the University of Maryland
  • Graduated with honors with a master’s in clinical chemistry from the University of New Mexico
  • Graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s in biochemistry from Mount Holyoke College