Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 405, Issue 4, pp 1399–1406 | Cite as

Simultaneous and sensitive LC–MS/MS determination of tetrahydrocannabinol and metabolites in human plasma

  • N. FerreirósEmail author
  • S. Labocha
  • C. Walter
  • J. Lötsch
  • G. Geisslinger
Original Paper


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.


THC Metabolites LC–MS/MS Cannabinoids 



This study was supported in part by the “Landesoffensive zur Entwicklung wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz: LOEWE. Schwerpunkt: Anwendungsorientierte Arzneimittelforschung” (GG, JL), the “Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG Lo 612/10-1 (JL)”, and the European Graduate School GRK757 (GG, JL).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Ferreirós
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Labocha
    • 1
  • C. Walter
    • 1
  • J. Lötsch
    • 1
  • G. Geisslinger
    • 1
  1. 1.Pharmazentrum Frankfurt/ZAFES, Institute of Clinical PharmacologyGoethe-University FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany

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