Determination of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid A (Δ9-THCA-A) in whole blood and plasma by LC–MS/MS and application in authentic samples from drivers suspected of driving under the influence of cannabis

Raikos, Nikolaos; Schmid, Helene; Nussbaumer, Susanne; Ambach, Lars; Lanz, Stephan; Längin, Andreas; König, Stefan; Roth, Nadine; Auwärter, Volker; Weinmann, Wolfgang (2014). Determination of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid A (Δ9-THCA-A) in whole blood and plasma by LC–MS/MS and application in authentic samples from drivers suspected of driving under the influence of cannabis. Forensic science international, 243, pp. 130-136. Elsevier Scientific Publ. Ireland 10.1016/j.forsciint.2014.07.026

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Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid A (THCA-A) is the biosynthetic precursor of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis plants, and has no psychotropic effects. THCA-A can be detected in blood and urine, and several metabolites have been identified. THCA-A was also shown to be incorporated in hair by side stream smoke to a minor extent, but incorporation via blood stream or sweat seems unlikely. The detection of THCA-A in biological fluids may serve as a marker for differentiating between the intake of prescribed THC medication – containing only pure THC – and cannabis products containing THC besides THC-acid A and other cannabinoids. However, the knowledge about its usefulness in forensic cases is very limited. The aim of the present work was the development of a reliable method for THCA-A determination in human blood or plasma using LC–MS/MS and application to cases of driving under the influence of drugs. Fifty eight (58) authentic whole blood and the respective plasma samples were collected from drivers suspected of driving under the influence of cannabis from the region of Bern (Switzerland). Samples were first tested for THC, 11-OH-THC and THC-COOH, and then additionally for THCA-A. For this purpose, the existing LC–MS/MS method was modified and validated, and found to be selective and linear over a range of 1.0 to 200 ng/mL (the correlation coefficients were above 0.9980 in all validation runs). Limit of detection (LOD) and limit of quantification (LOQ) were 0.3 ng/mL and 1.0 ng/mL respectively. Intra- and inter-assay accuracy were equal or better than 90% and intra- and inter-assay precision were equal or better than 11.1%. The mean extraction efficiencies were satisfactory being equal or higher than 85.4%. THCA-A was stable in whole blood samples after 3 freeze/thaw cycles and storage at 4 °C for 7 days. Re-injection (autosampler) stability was also satisfactory. THC was present in all blood samples with levels ranging from 0.7 to 51 ng/mL. THCA-A concentrations ranged from 1.0 to 496 ng/mL in blood samples and from 1.4 to 824 ng/mL in plasma samples. The plasma:blood partition coefficient had a mean value of 1.7 (±0.21, SD). No correlation was found between the degree of intoxication or impairment stated in the police protocols or reports of medical examinations and the detected THCA-A-concentration in blood.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Forensic Chemistry and Toxicology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Forensic Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Schmid, Helene; Nussbaumer, Susanne; Ambach, Lars; Lanz, Stephan; Längin, Andreas; König, Stefan and Weinmann, Wolfgang

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

0379-0738

Publisher:

Elsevier Scientific Publ. Ireland

Language:

English

Submitter:

Antoinette Angehrn

Date Deposited:

13 Oct 2014 08:12

Last Modified:

06 Nov 2015 10:26

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.forsciint.2014.07.026

PubMed ID:

25173986

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.59002

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/59002

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