MSACL 2018 US Abstract

Topic: Cannabinoids

Mass Spectrometry Meets Medical and Legal Cannabis

Marilyn Huestis (Presenter)
University of Maryland School of Medicine

Bio: Professor Dr. Dr. (h.c.) Marilyn A. Huestis recently retired as a tenured senior investigator and Chief, Chemistry and Drug Metabolism Section, IRP, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, after 23 years of conducting controlled drug administration studies. She is an Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, on the Steering Committee of The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp, Thomas Jefferson Medical School, on the Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) Science Advisory Board, Senior Scientific Advisor of NMS Labs, Consultant to the US Department of Transportation, and President of Huestis & Smith Toxicology, LLC. Her research program focused on mechanisms of action of cannabinoid agonists and antagonists, effects of in utero drug exposure, oral fluid testing, DUID and NPS.

Authorship: Marilyn A. Huestis
University of Maryland School of Medicine

Short Abstract

Currently, 8 states legalized cannabis and 29 approved medical cannabis increasing laboratory requests for cannabinoids quantification. There are now more daily cannabis users with resultant increases in stored THC in adipose, brain and organs tissues. Stored THC produces pharmacokinetic differences between daily and occasional intake. Cannabis-impaired driving increased and rapid blood THC decreases provided the impetus for roadside oral fluid cannabinoid testing. Also, new synthetic cannabinoids challenged laboratories to identify these toxic chemicals and tie their presence to accompanying adverse effects. These public health and safety challenges were met with sensitive and specific mass spectrometric methods for an expanded range of cannabinoids and their synthetic counterparts, and with greater utilization of high resolution mass spectrometry to identify NPS urinary metabolites.

Long Abstract

Introduction

Currently, 8 states and the District of Columbia legalized cannabis and 29 states approved medical cannabis. These changes increase laboratory requests for cannabinoids quantification.

Methods

The cannabinoids of greatest interest are ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD) the natural cannabinoid with the highest therapeutic potential, 11-hydroxy-THC an equipotent psychoactive cannabinoid that is found in increased concentrations after edible cannabis, 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC (THCCOOH) the primary THC metabolite in oral fluid that rules out passive cannabis exposure, and THC-glucuronide and minor cannabinoids cannabigerol and cannabinol that signal recent cannabis intake, even following chronic frequent cannabis intake.

Results

With increased medical and recreational use, more individuals are chronic frequent cannabis users with resultant increases in stored THC in their adipose tissues, brain and organs. Stored THC results in pharmacokinetic differences between chronic frequent and occasional (less than daily cannabis users) intake. Cannabis-impaired driving has increased also, and rapid THC decreases in blood after cannabis inhalation provided the impetus for oral fluid cannabinoid testing for driving under the influence of drugs testing at the roadside, and research into the development of a cannabis breathalyzer. In addition, the introduction of several hundred synthetic cannabinoids, novel psychoactive substances (NPS), in the last 10 years, many of which are structurally dissimilar to THC, has challenged toxicology laboratories to identify these toxic and dangerous chemicals and tie their presence to accompanying adverse effects.

Conclusions & Discussion

These public health and safety challenges were met with the development of sensitive and specific mass spectrometric methods for an expanded range of cannabinoids and their synthetic counterparts, and with greater utilization of high resolution mass spectrometry to identify NPS urinary metabolites and to screen for a much larger repertoire of cannabinoid analytes.


References & Acknowledgements:


Financial Disclosure

DescriptionY/NSource
Grantsno
SalaryyesNMS Labs, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Lambert Center
Board Memberno
Stockno
ExpensesyesThermo Fisher Scientific

IP Royalty: no

Planning to mention or discuss specific products or technology of the company(ies) listed above:

yes