Analysis of cannabis in oral fluid specimens by GC-MS with automatic SPE.Sci Justice. 2009 Dec; 49(4):242-6.SJ
Methamphetamine (MA) is the most commonly abused drug in Korea, followed by cannabis. Traditionally, MA analysis is carried out on both urine and hair samples and cannabis analysis in urine samples only. Despite the fact that oral fluid has become increasingly popular as an alternative specimen in the field of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) and work place drug testing, its application has not been expanded to drug analysis in Korea. Oral fluid is easy to collect and handle and can provide an indication of recent drug abuse. In this study, we present an analytical method using GC-MS to determine tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and its main metabolite 11-nor-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid (THC-COOH) in oral fluid. The validated method was applied to oral fluid samples collected from drug abuse suspects and the results were compared with those in urine. The stability of THC and THC-COOH in oral fluid stored in different containers was also investigated. Oral fluid specimens from 12 drug abuse suspects, submitted by the police, were collected by direct expectoration. The samples were screened with microplate ELISA. For confirmation they were extracted using automated SPE with mixed-mode cation exchange cartridge, derivatized and analyzed by GC-MS using selective ion monitoring (SIM). The concentrations ofTHC and THC-COOH in oral fluid showed a large variation and the results from oral fluid and urine samples from cannabis abusers did not show any correlation. Thus, detailed information about time interval between drug use and sample collection is needed to interpret the oral fluid results properly. In addition, further investigation about the detection time window ofTHC and THC-COOH in oral fluid is required to substitute oral fluid for urine in drug testing.