Detection of Δ9 THC in oral fluid following vaporized cannabis with varied cannabidiol (CBD) content: an evaluation of two point-of-collection testing devices

Thomas R Arkell, Richard Kevin, Jordyn Stuart, Nicholas Lintzeris, Paul Haber, Johannes G Ramaekers, Iain S McGregor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Web of Science)


Point-of-collection testing (POCT) for Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in oral fluid is increasingly used to detect driving under the influence of cannabis (DUIC). However, previous studies have questioned the reliability and accuracy of two commonly used POCT devices, the Securetec DrugWipe® 5s (DW5s) and Dräger DrugTest® 5000 (DT5000). In the current placebo controlled, double-blind, crossover study we used LC-MS/MS to accurately quantify cannabinoid concentrations in the oral fluid of fourteen participants at various timepoints (10, 60, 120 and 180 mins) following vaporization of 125 mg of THC-dominant (11% THC; <1% CBD), THC/CBD equivalent (11% THC; 11% CBD) and placebo (<1% THC; <1% CBD) cannabis. At each timepoint, oral fluid was also screened using the DW5s (10 ng/mL THC cut-off) and DT5000 (10 ng/mL THC cut-off). LC-MS/MS analysis showed peak oral fluid THC concentrations at the 10 min timepoint with a rapid decline thereafter. This trajectory did not differ with THC dominant and THC/CBD equivalent cannabis. With a 10 ng/mL confirmatory cut-off, 5% of DW5s test results were false positives and 16% false negatives. For the DT5000, 10% of test results were false positives and 9% false negatives. Neither the DW5s nor the DT5000 demonstrated the recommended >80% sensitivity, specificity and accuracy. Accuracy was lowest at 60 min, when THC concentrations were often close to the screening cut-off (10 ng/mL). POCT devices can be useful tools in detecting recent cannabis use; however, limitations should be noted, and confirmatory LC-MS/MS quantification of results is strongly advisable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1486-1497
Number of pages12
JournalDrug Testing and Analysis
Issue number10
Early online date23 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • CBD
  • MS
  • THC
  • cannabis
  • oral fluid
  • point-of-collection testing

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