Detection of THC Metabolites in Urine by LCMS-8050 with Supported Liquid Extraction Method


User Benefits

・SLE provides effective extraction and clean up of THC metabolites in urine samples after enzymatic hydrolysis ・The developed method meets the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)’s criteria for MS-based detection of THC metabolites in biological specimens ・LCMS-8050 exhibits remarkable LOQ (5 ng/mL) for detection of THC metabolites in urine


Despite its role as recreational and medicinal drug, cannabis can potentially lead to dependence and behavior disturbances affecting a person’s daily duties as long-term effects. This concern has prompted authorities to consider advanced technique to trace the track of cannabis intake especially in biological fluids. Urine is among the biological fluid frequently used for routine cannabis tracing. The parent drug, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has a clearance half-life of less than 30 minutes and is not traceable in urine. THC will be converted into its primary metabolites, 11-hydroxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (11-OH-THC) and 11-nor-9carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-COOH), during Phase I metabolism in the liver. These two metabolites are further metabolized to produce glucuronide conjugates of 11-OH-THC and THC-COOH in Phase II metabolism and are excreted in the urine. The glucuronate conjugates typically appear in the urine within 60 minutes but can take up to 4 hours upon ingestion/inhalation. The half-life of THC-COOH is extensive and can be detected in the urine up to 7 days after a single use. It is therefore feasible to trace cannabis intake in the urine sample. Mass spectrometry is the gold standard in forensic and clinical analysis for its sensitivity and selectivity. In this report, liquid chromatography mass spectrometry-triple quadrupole system (LCMS-8050) was employed for measuring THC metabolites in urine samples. Enzymatic hydrolysis is essential step to hydrolyze glucuronide moiety from THC metabolites. Consequently, sample cleanup is prerequisite in urine sample preparation. Supported liquid extraction (Biotage ISOLUTE® SLE+) was selected for both extraction and sample clean up.

June 21, 2021 GMT