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Detection of tetrahydrocannabinol residues on hands by ion-mobility spectrometry (IMS). Correlation of IMS data with saliva analysis


Ion-mobility spectroscopy (IMS) was evaluated as a high-throughput, cheap, and efficient analytical tool for detecting residues of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on hands. Regarding the usefulness of hand residues as potential samples for determining THC handling and abuse, we studied the correlation between data obtained from cannabis consumers who were classified as positive after saliva analysis and from those who were classified as positive on the basis of the information from hand-residue analysis. Sampling consisted of wiping the hands with borosilicate glass microfiber filters and introducing these directly into the IMS after thermal desorption. The possibility of false positive responses, resulting from the presence of other compounds with a similar drift time to THC, was evaluated and minimised by applying the truncated negative second-derivative algorithm. The possibility of false negative responses, mainly caused by competitive ionisation resulting from nicotine, was also studied.

THC residues: from hands to analytical signals

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (Projects CTQ 2012 38635 and CTQ 2014 52841).

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Correspondence to Sergio Armenta.

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Sonnberg, S., Armenta, S., Garrigues, S. et al. Detection of tetrahydrocannabinol residues on hands by ion-mobility spectrometry (IMS). Correlation of IMS data with saliva analysis. Anal Bioanal Chem 407, 5999–6008 (2015).

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  • Tetrahydrocannabinol
  • THC
  • Ion-mobility spectrometry
  • Cannabis manipulation
  • Hand residues
  • Saliva