Cannabinoid concentrations in confiscated cannabis samples and in whole blood and urine after smoking CBD-rich cannabis as a "tobacco substitute".

Hädener, Marianne; Gelmi, Tim; Fabritius, Marie Claire Michèle; Weinmann, Wolfgang; Pfäffli, Matthias (2019). Cannabinoid concentrations in confiscated cannabis samples and in whole blood and urine after smoking CBD-rich cannabis as a "tobacco substitute". International journal of legal medicine, 133(3), pp. 821-832. Springer 10.1007/s00414-018-01994-y

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In Switzerland, only cannabis with a total Δ-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content higher than 1% is controlled by the narcotics legislation. Cannabis products rich in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in THC can be legally sold as tobacco substitutes. In this paper, we address analytical and forensic toxicological issues related to the increasing availability and consumption of these products. Based on the analysis of 531 confiscated cannabis samples, we could establish classification thresholds: plant material with a ratio of total THC/total CBD ≥ 3 is graded as THC-rich/CBD-poor, whereas samples with a ratio ≤ 0.33 are categorized as CBD-rich/THC-poor cannabis. We also evaluated an on-site test kit as a rapid alternative to the laborious liquid or gas chromatography (LC or GC)-based techniques normally used for the differentiation between THC- and CBD-cannabis. Furthermore, we determined whole blood and urine cannabinoid levels after smoking different doses of legal CBD-cannabis. A male volunteer smoked one cigarette within 15 min and four cigarettes within 1 h and within 30 min, respectively. Cigarettes contained on average 42.7 mg CBD and 2.2 mg THC. Blood samples were collected up to 1.1 h and urine samples up to 27.3 h after the beginning of smoking. All urine samples tested negative by three immunochemical assays for detection of cannabis use. This is an important finding for abstinence monitoring. However, we found that the trace amounts of THC present in CBD-cannabis can produce THC blood levels above the Swiss legal limit for driving, and thus render the consumer unable to drive from a legal point of view.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Forensic Chemistry and Toxicology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Traffic Medicine, Psychiatry and Psychology

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Hädener, Marianne; Gelmi, Tim; Fabritius, Marie Claire Michèle; Weinmann, Wolfgang and Pfäffli, Matthias

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 540 Chemistry

ISSN:

0937-9827

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Antoinette Angehrn

Date Deposited:

29 Jan 2019 16:08

Last Modified:

18 Apr 2019 01:31

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s00414-018-01994-y

PubMed ID:

30612324

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Cannabidiol Classification Driving while impaired Drug of abuse testing Tetrahydrocannabinol

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.123320

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/123320

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