Assay of plasma cannabidiol by capillary gas chromatography/ion trap mass spectroscopy following high-dose repeated daily oral administration in humans

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1991 Nov;40(3):517-22. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(91)90357-8.


Plasma levels of cannabidiol (CBD) were ascertained weekly in 14 Huntington's disease patients undergoing a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of oral CBD (10 mg/kg/day = about 700 mg/day) for 6 weeks. The assay procedure involved trimethylsilyl (TMS) derivatization of CBD and the internal standard delta-6-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), capillary column gas chromatography, ion trap mass spectroscopy in positive ion chemical ionization mode using isobutane, and calculations of CBD levels based on peak ion intensity of the 387 M + H peak of delta-6-THC-TMS and the 459 M + H peak of CBD-2TMS. The sensitivity of the assay was about 500 pg/ml, and the precision was about 10-15%. Mean plasma levels of CBD ranged from 5.9-11.2 ng/ml over the 6 weeks of CBD administration. CBD levels averaged 1.5 ng/ml one week after CBD was discontinued, and were virtually undetectable thereafter. The elimination half-life of CBD was estimated to be about 2-5 days, and there were no differences between genders for half-life or CBD levels. Additionally, no plasma delta-1-THC, the major psychoactive cannabinoid of marijuana, was detected in any subject.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cannabidiol / administration & dosage
  • Cannabidiol / blood*
  • Dronabinol / administration & dosage
  • Dronabinol / analogs & derivatives
  • Dronabinol / blood
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Cannabidiol
  • delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol
  • Dronabinol