Cannabinoid mimics in chocolate utilized as an argument in court

Int J Legal Med. 2000;113(3):137-9. doi: 10.1007/s004140050284.


A case is presented involving chocolate cannabinoid mimics which have been utilized in court by the defendant's lawyer in order to clear the accused of smoking and dealing in marijuana after he was found positive for cannabis in a routine urine immunoassay screening test. The argumentation in this case was that the accused had supposedly eaten a massive amount of chocolate which contained anandamide-related lipids. These lipids inhibit anandamide hydrolysis in the brain, act as cannabinoid mimics and, according to the lawyer, were the cause of the positive cannabinoid test. To investigate this in detail, we synthesized N-oleoyl- and N-linoleoylethanolamide and spiked these compounds together with N-arachidonoylethanolamide in urine for immunological investigations. None of the samples were found positive, indicating that no cross-reactivity occurs with cannabinoids. As a result, the lawyer's claim could be refuted and the accused was convicted.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Arachidonic Acids / analysis
  • Arachidonic Acids / chemistry
  • Arachidonic Acids / urine
  • Belgium
  • Cacao / chemistry*
  • Cannabinoids / analysis*
  • Cannabinoids / chemistry
  • Cannabinoids / urine
  • Cross Reactions
  • Endocannabinoids
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Forensic Medicine / methods
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods*
  • Immunoassay / standards
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Marijuana Smoking / urine*
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Prisoners
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / standards


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Cannabinoids
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • anandamide