Detection of in utero cannabis exposure by umbilical cord analysis

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Nov 13, 2017
  • Author: Jiyoung Kim, Ana Castro, Elena Lendoiro, Angelines Cruz‐Landeira, Manuel López‐Rivadulla, Marta Concheiro
  • Journal: Drug Testing and Analysis

Abstract

According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 5.3% of pregnant women smoked marijuana in the past month. This prevalence is expected to increase as a growing number of states and countries are now considering legalization. Although the umbilical cord is becoming a useful objective tool to detect in utero drug exposure, currently data about analytical methods and its utility to detect cannabis exposure are scarce. The objective of this work was to develop a method for the determination of Δ9‐tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), 11‐hydroxyTHC (THC‐OH), 11‐nor‐9‐carboxy‐THC (THCCOOH), 8‐β‐11‐dihydroxyTHC (THC‐diOH), THC and THCCOOH glucuronides, and cannabidiol (CBD) in the umbilical cord by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) with dual ionization source. Umbilical cord samples (0.5 g) were homogenized in methanol and extracted by solid‐phase extraction. Reversed‐phase chromatographic separation was performed in 14 minutes, and 2 transitions per analyte were monitored in multiple reaction monitoring mode. Method validation included linearity (1–10 to 20–200 ng/g), precision (4.1%–23.4%), accuracy (87.5%–111.4%), matrix effect (‐54.8% to ‐5.8%), extraction efficiency (25%–45.6%), limits of detection and quantification (1–10 ng/g), and endogenous (n = 5) or exogenous interferences (not detected). The method was applied to 13 authentic samples from cannabis‐exposed newborns, which meconium samples had tested positive for cannabis. Twelve cord specimens tested positive for THCCOOH‐glucuronide (1.6–19.1 ng/g). We developed and validated a specific and sensitive method for the simultaneous determination of THC, its metabolites, including THC and THCCOOH glucuronides, and CBD in umbilical cord samples by LC–MS/MS. The analysis of authentic samples showed the usefulness of umbilical cord to detect cannabis in utero exposure.

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