Risk of unintentional antidoping rule violations by consumption of hemp products

Drug Test Anal. 2022 May 28. doi: 10.1002/dta.3327. Online ahead of print.


Consumption of hemp products is continuously growing, with an expanding scope of applications. Suppliers operate through different distribution channels, but the Internet is a major retail platform. Hemp products are prepared from cannabis plants and, therefore, might contain a variety of different natural cannabinoids. According to the regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency, all natural and synthetic cannabinoids are prohibited in-competition, with the explicit exemption of cannabidiol. Therefore, an investigation of 23 hemp products for the presence of cannabinoids was performed to determine the likelihood of unintentional violations of anti-doping regulations. An assay for the detection of 16 cannabinoids in nutritional supplements was developed and validated. The sample preparation consisted of QuEChERS extraction, trimethylsilylation, and analysis by gas chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry. All 23 commercially available hemp products were analyzed, and assay characteristics such as selectivity, limit of detection, limit of identification, limit of quantification, linearity, imprecision, recovery, and accuracy were determined. Twenty of 23 hemp products included a variety of cannabinoids at, occasionally, substantial concentrations, with four products covering the entire spectrum of tested cannabinoids. An ethics committee-approved single-dose administration study was conducted with the commercially available hemp products, investigating the presence of 16 cannabinoids in urine collected pre- and post-consumption. Variable patterns of cannabinoids or their metabolites in urine were observed. In 30% of the urine samples collected 8 h after ingestion, the presence of a prohibited cannabinoid would have resulted in an unintentional violation of anti-doping regulations.

Keywords: cannabinoids; doping; gas chromatography mass spectrometry; sport; supplements.