Analysis Of Cannabis In Body Fluids: Fitting For Purpose

Michal Rotenberg, Laboratory of Clinical toxicology and Pharmacology, Sheba Medical Center, Ramat Gan, Israel (

Cannabis is the most widely consumed drug of abuse, especially among the young population. Furthermore, in the last years, it has been introduced as a medicine in the treatment of specific conditions, among which cancer and multiple sclerosis as a pain reliever, epilepsy in children, and some types of autism.

Thus, detection of cannabinoid compounds is needed for several purposes: rehabilitation of addicts, medico-legal tests for law enforcement, forensics, and lately, therapeutic drug monitoring.

For each of these endeavors there are different analytical requirements:

  • Quantification of the analyte versus qualitative detection.
  • Different levels of confidence for clinical purposes versus forensic analysis.
  • Detection of cannabis in general or detection of specific cannabinoid compounds.
  • Choice of appropriate body fluid for the specific purpose.

The methodologies used for the analysis of cannabis are immunochemical tests and mass-spectrometry (GC/MS and UPLC/MS) as standalone methods or combined with each other. Interpretation of results stems from the choice of the body fluid (usually blood or urine) and from the analytical method used.

Short Biography of Presenting Author
After graduating in biology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dr. Rotenberg obtained a Master's and a PhD degree in biochemistry at the University of Tel Aviv. Hence, she attained a post-doctoral fellowship at the Cornell University Medical College in New York, in the field of modulation of UDP-glucuronosyl transferase kinetics in model systems.
She spent two years as a research associate at Tel Aviv University before joining the laboratory of clinical toxicology and pharmacology at the Sheba Medical Center, which she directs since 2010.

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