Date of Award

Fall 12-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forensic Science



First Advisor

Marta Concheiro-Guisan

Second Reader

Shu-Yuan Cheng

Third Advisor

Elise Lauterbur


According to 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 7.1% of pregnant women smoked marijuana in the past month in 2017. Although this prevalence is expected to increase as a growing number of states and countries are now considering legalization, there are scarce data on effects of in utero cannabis exposure. For the monitoring of fetal cannabis exposure, two methods are employed; self-report and the analysis of biological matrix. Due to inaccuracy of self-report, the analysis of neonatal matrixes such as meconium, hair, and urine is perferred. Although umbilical cord is becoming a useful objective tool to detect in utero drug exposure due to the disadvantages of established biological samples, currently there are scarce data about analytical methods and its utility to detect cannabis exposure. The objective of this work was to develop a method for the determination of 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), 11-hydroxyTHC (THC-OH), 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC (THCCOOH), 8--11-dihydroxyTHC (THC-diOH), THC and THCCOOH glucuronides, and cannabidiol (CBD) in umbilical cord by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MSMS) with dual ionization source (DUIS). Umbilical cord samples (0.5g) were homogenized in methanol and extracted by solid phase extraction. Reversed-phase chromatographic separation was performed in 14 min, and two transitions per analyte were monitored in multiple reaction monitoring mode. Method validation included linearity (1-10 to 20-200ng/g), imprecision (4.1-23.4%), accuracy (87.5-111.4%), matrix effect (-54.8 to -5.8%), extraction efficiency (25-45.6%), limits of detection and quantification (1-10ng/g), and endogenous/exogenous interferences (not detected). The method was applied to 13 authentic samples from cannabis-exposed newborns, which matched meconium samples had tested positive for cannabis. Twelve cord specimens

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