Clinical chemistry

Cannabinoid disposition in oral fluid after controlled smoked cannabis.

PMID 22273566


We measured Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC (THCCOOH), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol (CBN) disposition in oral fluid (OF) following controlled cannabis smoking to evaluate whether monitoring multiple cannabinoids in OF improved OF test interpretation. Cannabis smokers provided written informed consent for this institutional review board-approved study. OF was collected with the Quantisal™ device following ad libitum smoking of one 6.8% THC cigarette. Cannabinoids were quantified by 2-dimensional GC-MS. We evaluated 8 alternative cutoffs based on different drug testing program needs. 10 participants provided 86 OF samples -0.5 h before and 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 22 h after initiation of smoking. Before smoking, OF samples of 4 and 9 participants were positive for THC and THCCOOH, respectively, but none were positive for CBD and CBN. Maximum THC, CBD, and CBN concentrations occurred within 0.5 h, with medians of 644, 30.4, and 49.0 μg/L, respectively. All samples were THC positive at 6 h (2.1-44.4 μg/L), and 4 of 6 were positive at 22 h. CBD and CBN were positive only up to 6 h in 3 (0.6-2.1 μg/L) and 4 (1.0-4.4 μg/L) participants, respectively. The median maximum THCCOOH OF concentration was 115 ng/L, with all samples positive to 6 h (14.8-263 ng/L) and 5 of 6 positive at 22 h. By quantifying multiple cannabinoids and evaluating different analytical cutoffs after controlled cannabis smoking, we determined windows of drug detection, found suggested markers of recent smoking, and minimized the potential for passive contamination.