Development and validation of a method for simultaneous identification and quantification of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), and metabolites 11-hydroxy-THC (11-OH-THC) and 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC (THCCOOH) in oral fluid. Simultaneous analysis was problematic due to different physicochemical characteristics and concentration ranges. Neutral analytes, such as THC and CBD, are present in ng/mL, rather than pg/mL concentrations, as observed for the acidic THCCOOH biomarker in oral fluid. THCCOOH is not present in cannabis smoke, definitively differentiating cannabis use from passive smoke exposure. THC, 11-OH-THC, THCCOOH, CBD, and CBN quantification was achieved in a single oral fluid specimen collected with the Quantisal™ device. One mL oral fluid/buffer solution (0.25mL oral fluid and 0.75mL buffer) was applied to conditioned CEREX® Polycrom™ THC solid phase extraction (SPE) columns. After washing, THC, 11-OH-THC, CBD, and CBN were eluted with hexane/acetone/ethyl acetate (60:30:20, v/v/v), derivatized with N, O-bis-(trimethylsilyl) trifluoroacetamide and quantified by two-dimensional gas chromatography electron ionization mass spectrometry (2D-GCMS) with cold trapping. Acidic THCCOOH was separately eluted with hexane/ethyl acetate/acetic acid (75:25:2.5, v/v/v), derivatized with trifluoroacetic anhydride and hexafluoroisopropanol, and quantified by the more sensitive 2D-GCMS–electron capture negative chemical ionization (NCI-MS). Linearity was 0.5-50ng/mL for THC, 11-OH-THC, CBD and 1-50ng/mL for CBN. The linear dynamic range for THCCOOH was 7.5–500pg/mL. Intra-and inter-assay imprecision as percent RSD at three concentrations across the linear dynamic range were 0.3%-6.6%. Analytical recovery was within 13.8% of target. This new SPE 2D-GCMS assay achieved efficient quantification of five cannabinoids in oral fluid, including pg/mL concentrations of THCCOOH by combining differential elution, 2D-GCMS with electron ionization and negative chemical ionization. This method will be applied to quantification of cannabinoids in oral fluid specimens from individuals participating in controlled cannabis and Sativex® (50% THC and 50% CBD) administration studies, and during cannabis withdrawal.
Read full study here