Urinary Pharmacokinetic Profile of Cannabinoids following Administration of Vaporized and Oral Cannabidiol and Vaporized CBD-Dominant Cannabis

Tory R. Spindle, Edward J. Cone, David Kuntz, John M. Mitchell, George E. Bigelow, Ronald Flegel, Ryan Vandrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Cannabis products in which cannabidiol (CBD) is the primary chemical constituent (CBD-dominant) are increasingly popular and widely available. The impact of CBD exposure on urine drug testing has not been well studied. This study characterized the urinary pharmacokinetic profile of 100-mg oral and vaporized CBD, vaporized CBD-dominant cannabis (100-mg CBD; 3.7-mg δ9-THC) and placebo in healthy adults (n = 6) using a within-subjects crossover design. Urine specimens were collected before and for 5 days after drug administration. Immunoassay (IA) screening (cutoffs of 20, 50 and 100 ng/mL) and LC-MS-MS confirmatory tests (cutoff of 15 ng/mL) for 11-nor-9-carboxy-δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (δ9-THCCOOH) were performed; urine was also analyzed for CBD and other cannabinoids. Urinary concentrations of CBD were higher after oral (mean Cmax: 776 ng/mL) versus vaporized CBD (mean Cmax: 261 ng/mL). CBD concentrations peaked 5 h after oral CBD ingestion and within 1 h after inhalation of vaporized CBD. After pure CBD administration, only 1 out of 218 urine specimens screened positive for δ9-THCCOOH (20-ng/mL IA cutoff) and no specimens exceeded the 15-ng/mL confirmatory cutoff. After inhalation of CBD-dominant cannabis vapor, nine samples screened positive at the 20-ng/mL IA cutoff, and two of those samples screened positive at the 50-ng/mL IA cutoff. Four samples that screened positive (two at 20 ng/mL and two at 50 ng/mL) confirmed positive with concentrations of δ9-THCCOOH exceeding 15 ng/mL. These data indicate that acute dosing of pure CBD will not result in a positive urine drug test using current federal workplace drug testing guidelines (50-ng/mL IA cutoff with 15-ng/mL confirmatory cutoff). However, CBD products that also contain δ9-THC may produce positive urine results for δ9-THCCOOH. Accurate labeling and regulation of δ9-THC content in CBD/hemp products are needed to prevent unexpected positive drug tests and unintended drug effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-125
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of analytical toxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Chemical Health and Safety


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