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Article

Identification of Potential Distinguishing Markers for the Use of Cannabis-Based Medicines or Street Cannabis in Serum Samples

1
Institute of Legal Medicine, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, 55131 Mainz, Germany
2
Department of Neurology, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, 55131 Mainz, Germany
3
Department of Nuclear Medicine, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, 55131 Mainz, Germany
4
Institute of Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, 55131 Mainz, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Markus R. Meyer
Metabolites 2021, 11(5), 316; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11050316
Received: 21 April 2021 / Revised: 3 May 2021 / Accepted: 7 May 2021 / Published: 13 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolite Analysis in Forensic Toxicology)
Increasing prescription numbers of cannabis-based medicines raise the question of whether uptake of these medicines can be distinguished from recreational cannabis use. In this pilot study, serum cannabinoid profiles after use of cannabis-based medicines were investigated, in order to identify potential distinguishing markers. Serum samples after use of Sativex®, Dronabinol or medical cannabis were collected and analyzed for 18 different cannabinoids, using a validated liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method. Analytes included delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, 11-hydroxy-tetrahydrocannabinol, 11-nor-9-carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabinol, cannabigerol, cannabichromene, cannabicyclol, tetrahydrocannabivarin, cannabidivarin, tetrahydocannabinolic acid A, cannabidiolic acid, cannabinolic acid, cannabigerolic acid, cannabichromenic acid, cannabicyclolic acid, tetrahydrocannabivarinic acid and cannabidivarinic acid. Cannabinoid profiles of study samples were compared to profiles of street cannabis user samples via principal component analysis and Kruskal–Wallis test. Potential distinguishing markers for Dronabinol and Sativex® intake were identified, including 11-hydroxy-tetrahydrocannabinol/delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol ratios ≥1 and increased concentrations of 11-nor-9-carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol or cannabichromene. Larger quantities of minor cannabinoids suggested use of cannabis. Use of medical and street cannabis could not be distinguished, except for use of a cannabidiol-rich strain with higher cannabidiol/delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabichromene/delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol ratios. Findings of the study were used to classify forensic serum samples with self-reported use of cannabis-based medicines. View Full-Text
Keywords: cannabinoids; Sativex; Dronabinol; medical cannabis; serum concentrations; LC-MS/MS; principal component analysis cannabinoids; Sativex; Dronabinol; medical cannabis; serum concentrations; LC-MS/MS; principal component analysis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Scheunemann, A.; Elsner, K.; Germerott, T.; Groppa, S.; Hess, C.; Miederer, I.; Poplawski, A.; Röhrich, J. Identification of Potential Distinguishing Markers for the Use of Cannabis-Based Medicines or Street Cannabis in Serum Samples. Metabolites 2021, 11, 316. https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11050316

AMA Style

Scheunemann A, Elsner K, Germerott T, Groppa S, Hess C, Miederer I, Poplawski A, Röhrich J. Identification of Potential Distinguishing Markers for the Use of Cannabis-Based Medicines or Street Cannabis in Serum Samples. Metabolites. 2021; 11(5):316. https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11050316

Chicago/Turabian Style

Scheunemann, Anne, Katrin Elsner, Tanja Germerott, Sergiu Groppa, Cornelius Hess, Isabelle Miederer, Alicia Poplawski, and Jörg Röhrich. 2021. "Identification of Potential Distinguishing Markers for the Use of Cannabis-Based Medicines or Street Cannabis in Serum Samples" Metabolites 11, no. 5: 316. https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11050316

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