Recent advances in the development of portable technologies and commercial products to detect Δ9‑tetrahydrocannabinol in biofluids: a systematic review

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Clément, Pierrick
K. Schlage, Walter
Hoeng, Julia
Background: The primary components driving the current commercial fascination with cannabis products are phytocannabinoids, a diverse group of over 100 lipophilic secondary metabolites derived from the cannabis plant. Although numerous phytocannabinoids exhibit pharmacological effects, the foremost attention has been directed towards Δ9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol, the two most abundant phytocannabinoids, for their potential human applications. Despite their structural similarity, THC and cannabidiol diverge in terms of their psychotropic effects, with THC inducing notable psychological alterations. There is a clear need for accurate and rapid THC measurement methods that offer dependable, readily accessible, and cost-effective analytical information. This review presents a comprehensive view of the present state of alternative technologies that could potentially facilitate the creation of portable devices suitable for on-site usage or as personal monitors, enabling non-intrusive THC measurements. Method A literature survey from 2017 to 2023 on the development of portable technologies and commercial products to detect THC in biofluids was performed using electronic databases such as PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar. A systematic review of available literature was conducted using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic. Reviews and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) guidelines. Results: Eighty-nine studies met the selection criteria. Fifty-seven peer-reviewed studies were related to the detection of THC by conventional separation techniques used in analytical laboratories that are still considered the gold standard. Studies using optical (n = 12) and electrochemical (n = 13) portable sensors and biosensors were also identified as well as commercially available devices (n = 7). Discussion: The landscape of THC detection technology is predominantly shaped by immunoassay tests, owing to their established reliability. However, these methods have distinct drawbacks, particularly for quantitative analysis. Electrochemical sensing technology holds great potential to overcome the challenges of quantification and present a multitude of advantages, encompassing the possibility of miniaturization and diverse modifications to amplify sensitivity and selectivity. Nevertheless, these sensors have considerable limitations, including non-specific interactions and the potential interference of compounds and substances existing in biofluids. Conclusion: The foremost challenge in THC detection involves creating electrochemical sensors that are both stable and long-lasting while exhibiting exceptional selectivity, minimal non-specific interactions, and decreased susceptibility to matrix interferences. These aspects need to be resolved before these sensors can be successfully introduced to the market.
Publication Reference
Volume 6, article number 9, (2024)