Skip to main content

Cannabinoids in oral fluid by on-site immunoassay and by GC-MS using two different oral fluid collection devices


Oral fluid (OF) enables non-invasive sample collection for on-site drug testing, but performance of on-site tests with occasional and frequent smokers’ OF to identify cannabinoid intake requires further evaluation. Furthermore, as far as we are aware, no studies have evaluated differences between cannabinoid disposition among OF collection devices with authentic OF samples after controlled cannabis administration. Fourteen frequent (≥4 times per week) and 10 occasional (less than twice a week) adult cannabis smokers smoked one 6.8 % ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cigarette ad libitum over 10 min. OF was collected with the StatSure Saliva Sampler, Oral-Eze, and Draeger DrugTest 5000 test cassette before and up to 30 h after cannabis smoking. Test cassettes were analyzed within 15 min and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry cannabinoid results were obtained within 24 h. Cannabinoid concentrations with the StatSure and Oral-Eze devices were compared and times of last cannabinoid detection (t last) and DrugTest 5000 test performance were assessed for different cannabinoid cutoffs. 11-nor-9-Carboxy-THC (THCCOOH) and cannabinol concentrations were significantly higher in Oral-Eze samples than in Stat-Sure samples. DrugTest 5000 t last for a positive cannabinoid test were median (range) 12 h (4–24 h) and 21 h (1– ≥ 30 h) for occasional and frequent smokers, respectively. Detection windows in screening and confirmatory tests were usually shorter for occasional than for frequent smokers, especially when including THCCOOH ≥20 ng L−1 in confirmation criteria. No differences in t last were observed between collection devices, except for THC ≥2 μg L−1. We thus report significantly different THCCOOH and cannabinol, but not THC, concentrations between OF collection devices, which may affect OF data interpretation. The DrugTest 5000 on-site device had high diagnostic sensitivity, specificity, and efficiency for cannabinoids.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2







Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol and medicines


Driving under the influence of drugs


False negative


False positive


Limit of quantification


Oral fluid


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration





t last :

Time of last detection


True negative


True positive


Two dimensional gas chromatography mass spectrometry




  1. 1.

    United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2013) World Drug Report 2013. United Nations, Vienna. Accessed 2 Mar 2014

  2. 2.

    Drummer OH, Kourtis I, Beyer J, Tayler P, Boorman M, Gerostamoulos D (2012) The prevalence of drugs in injured drivers. Forensic Sci Int 215(1–3):14–17

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Lacey JH, Kelley-Baker T, Furr-Holden D, Voas RB, Romano E, Ramirez A, Brainard K, Moore C, Torres P, Berning A (2009) 2007 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers: Drug Results. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of Behavioral Safety Research, Washington DC. Accessed 2 Mar 2014

  4. 4.

    Bostwick JM (2012) Blurred boundaries: the therapeutics and politics of medical marijuana. Mayo Clin Proc 87(2):172–186

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    O'Connell TJ, Bou-Matar CB (2007) Long term marijuana users seeking medical cannabis in California (2001–2007): demographics, social characteristics, patterns of cannabis and other drug use of 4117 applicants. Harm Reduct J 4:16

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Crouch DJ, Walsh JM, Flegel R, Cangianelli L, Baudys J, Atkins R (2005) An evaluation of selected oral fluid point-of-collection drug-testing devices. J Anal Toxicol 29(4):244–248

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Laloup M, Del Mar Ramirez Fernandez M, Wood M, De Boeck G, Maes V, Samyn N (2006) Correlation of Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentrations determined by LC-MS-MS in oral fluid and plasma from impaired drivers and evaluation of the on-site Drager DrugTest. Forensic Sci Int 161(2–3):175–179

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Cirimele V, Villain M, Mura P, Bernard M, Kintz P (2006) Oral fluid testing for cannabis: on-site OraLine IV s.a.t. device versus GC–MS. Forensic Sci Int 161(2–3):180–184

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Walsh JM, Crouch DJ, Danaceau JP, Cangianelli L, Liddicoat L, Adkins R (2007) Evaluation of ten oral fluid point-of-collection drug-testing devices. J Anal Toxicol 31(1):44–54

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Pehrsson A, Gunnar T, Engblom C, Seppa H, Jama A, Lillsunde P (2008) Roadside oral fluid testing: comparison of the results of Drugwipe 5 and Drugwipe Benzodiazepines on-site tests with laboratory confirmation results of oral fluid and whole blood. Forensic Sci Int 175(2–3):140–148

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Crouch DJ, Walsh JM, Cangianelli L, Quintela O (2008) Laboratory evaluation and field application of roadside oral fluid collectors and drug testing devices. Ther Drug Monit 30(2):188–195

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Blencowe T, Pehrsson A, Lillsunde P, Vimpari K, Houwing S, Smink B, Mathijssen R, Van der Linden T, Legrand S-A, Pil K, Verstraete A (2011) An analytical evaluation of eight on-site oral fluid drug screening devices using laboratory confirmation results from oral fluid. Forensic Sci Int 208(1–3):173–179

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Wille SMR, Samyn N, Ramírez-Fernández MM, De Boeck G (2010) Evaluation of on-site oral fluid screening using Drugwipe-5 + ®, RapidSTAT® and Drug Test 5000® for the detection of drugs of abuse in drivers. Forensic Sci Int 198(1–3):2–6

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Kintz P, Brunet B, Muller JF, Serra W, Villain M, Cirimele V, Mura P (2009) Evaluation of the Cozart DDSV test for cannabis in oral fluid. Ther Drug Monit 31(1):131–134

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Röhrich J, Zörntlein S, Becker J, Urban R (2010) Detection of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and amphetamine-type stimulants in oral fluid using the rapid stat point-of-collection drug-testing device. J Anal Toxicol 34:155–161

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Strano-Rossi S, Castrignano E, Anzillotti L, Serpelloni G, Mollica R, Tagliaro F, Pascali JP, di Stefano D, Sgalla R, Chiarotti M (2012) Evaluation of four oral fluid devices (DDS®), Drugtest 5000®, Drugwipe 5 + ® and RapidSTAT® for on-site monitoring drugged driving in comparison with UHPLC-MS/MS analysis. Forensic Sci Int 221(1–3):70–76

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Vanstechelman S, Isalberti C, Van der Linden T, Pil K, Legrand SA, Verstraete AG (2012) Analytical evaluation of four on-site oral fluid drug testing devices. J Anal Toxicol 36(2):136–140

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Bosker WM, Theunissen EL, Conen S, Kuypers KP, Jeffery WK, Walls HC, Kauert GF, Toennes SW, Moeller MR, Ramaekers JG (2012) A placebo-controlled study to assess Standardized Field Sobriety Tests performance during alcohol and cannabis intoxication in heavy cannabis users and accuracy of point of collection testing devices for detecting THC in oral fluid. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 223(4):439–446

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Desrosiers NA, Lee D, Schwope DM, Milman G, Barnes AJ, Gorelick DA, Huestis MA (2012) On-site test for cannabinoids in oral fluid. Clin Chem 58(10):1418–1425

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Houwing S, Smink BE, Legrand SA, Mathijssen RP, Verstraete AG, Brookhuis KA (2012) Repeatability of oral fluid collection methods for THC measurement. Forensic Sci Int 223(1–3):266–272

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Milman G, Barnes AJ, Schwope DM, Schwilke EW, Darwin WD, Goodwin RS, Kelly DL, Gorelick DA, Huestis MA (2010) Disposition of cannabinoids in oral fluid after controlled around-the-clock oral THC administration. Clin Chem 56(8):1261–1269

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Niedbala RS, Kardos KW, Fritch DF, Kardos S, Fries T, Waga J, Robb J, Cone EJ (2001) Detection of marijuana use by oral fluid and urine analysis following single-dose administration of smoked and oral marijuana. J Anal Toxicol 25(5):289–303

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Milman G, Barnes AJ, Lowe RH, Huestis MA (2010) Simultaneous quantification of cannabinoids and metabolites in oral fluid by two-dimensional gas chromatography mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr A 1217(9):1513–1521

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Anizan S, Milman G, Desrosiers N, Barnes AJ, Gorelick DA, Huestis MA (2013) Oral fluid cannabinoid concentrations following controlled smoked cannabis in chronic frequent and occasional smokers. Anal Bioanal Chem 405(26):8451–8461

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Newmeyer MN, Desrosiers NA, Lee D, Mendu DR, Barnes AJ, Gorelick DA, Huestis MA (2014) Cannabinoid disposition in oral fluid after controlled cannabis smoking in frequent and occasional smokers drug test anal. Drug Test Anal. doi:10.1002/dta.1632

    Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Langel K, Engblom C, Pehrsson A, Gunnar T, Ariniemi K, Lillsunde P (2008) Drug testing in oral fluid-evaluation of sample collection devices. J Anal Toxicol 32(6):393–401

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Lee D, Milman G, Barnes AJ, Goodwin RS, Hirvonen J, Huestis MA (2011) Oral fluid cannabinoids in chronic, daily cannabis smokers during sustained, monitored abstinence. 57(8):1127–1136

Download references


We acknowledge the contributions of clinical staff of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Intramural Research Program, and Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit and Clinical Research Unit, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and Dr Sébastien Anizan and Dr David M. Schwope for protocol assistance, the Graduate Partnership Program, NIH, and the “Fondation Baxter et Alma Ricard”. The Draeger DrugTest 5000, Oral-Eze, and StatSure devices were provided by the manufacturers to NIH through Materials Transfer Agreements. This research was funded by the Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marilyn A. Huestis.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Desrosiers, N.A., Milman, G., Mendu, D.R. et al. Cannabinoids in oral fluid by on-site immunoassay and by GC-MS using two different oral fluid collection devices. Anal Bioanal Chem 406, 4117–4128 (2014).

Download citation


  • Cannabinoid
  • Oral fluid
  • On-site test
  • Draeger DrugTest 5000