Simultaneous and sensitive LC–MS/MS determination of tetrahydrocannabinol and metabolites in human plasma
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Cannabis is not only a widely used illicit drug but also a substance which can be used in pharmacological therapy because of its analgesic, antiemetic, and antispasmodic properties. A very rapid and sensitive method for determination of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal active component of cannabis, and two of its phase I metabolites in plasma has been developed and validated. After solid-phase extraction of plasma (0.2 mL), the clean extracts were analyzed by tandem mass spectrometry after a 5-min liquid chromatographic separation. The linear calibration ranges were from 0.05 to 30 ng mL−1 for THC and 11-nor-∆9-carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-COOH) and from 0.2 to 30 ng mL−1 for ∆9-(11-OH)-tetrahydrocannabinol (11-OH-THC). Imprecision and inaccuracy were always below 7 and 12 % (expressed as relative standard deviation and relative error), respectively. The method has been successfully applied to determination of the three analytes in plasma obtained from healthy volunteers after oral administration of 20 mg dronabinol.