Date of Award

Spring 6-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forensic Science



First Advisor or Mentor

Marta Concheiro-Guisan

Second Reader

Ana Pego

Third Advisor

Carolina Noble


With the rising consumption of cannabis and cannabinoid-containing products among different demographics, including pregnant women, it is increasingly necessary to develop analytical tools to be able to determine prenatal cannabis exposure. The aim of this study was to develop and validate a sensitive and specific method, using umbilical cord, to determine in utero exposure to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). After homogenization and hydrolysis, samples were extracted using liquid-liquid extraction and analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MSMS). MS analysis was performed in electrospray ionization negative mode and two multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) transitions were monitored per analyte. The linearity ranged from 5- 100 ng/g for 11-hydroxy-THC (THC-OH), 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC (THC-COOH), 7-hydroxy cannabidiol (CBD-OH), and 7-carboxy cannabidiol (CBD-COOH). All cannabinoids displayed an acceptable amount of bias (±20%) and imprecision (<20%). Matrix effect (n=10, CV<27.4%) was not detected for CBD-COOH and CBD-OH, and ion suppression was detected for THC-COOH (-40%) and THC-OH (-45%). Extraction efficiency was <50% for CBD-COOH and CBD-OH, and 53-63% for THC-COOH and THC-OH. The method was validated and applied to 13 authentic cases which paired meconium was positive for CBD and THC metabolites.

Available for download on Friday, May 23, 2025