Detection of Δ 9 THC in oral fluid following vaporized cannabis with varied cannabidiol (CBD) content: An evaluation of two point-of-collection testing devices

Drug Test Anal. 2019 Oct;11(10):1486-1497. doi: 10.1002/dta.2687. Epub 2019 Sep 10.


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® 5 s (DW5s) and Dräger DrugTest® 5000 (DT5000). In the current placebo controlled, double-blind, crossover study we used liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to accurately quantify cannabinoid concentrations in the oral fluid of 14 participants at various timepoints (10, 60, 120, and 180 minutes) 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 minute 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 minutes, 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.

Keywords: CBD; THC; cannabis; oral fluid; point-of-collection testing.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cannabidiol / analysis
  • Cannabis / chemistry
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Dronabinol / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking
  • Psychotropic Drugs / analysis*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Specimen Handling / methods
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Volatilization
  • Young Adult


  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • Cannabidiol
  • Dronabinol