Simultaneous quantification of opiates,
cocaine and cannabinoids in hair

Jurado C, Gimenez MP, Menendez M, Repetto M.
Instituto Nacional de Toxicologia,
Seville, Spain.
Forensic Sci Int 1995 Jan 5;70(1-3):165-74


The present paper describes a sensitive method developed in our laboratory for the simultaneous analysis of opiates (morphine, codeine and monoacetylmorphine), cocainis (cocaine and benzoylecgonine) and cannabinoids (delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol and 11-nor-delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid) in hair samples. After decontaminating the sample with dichloromethane, two consecutive hydrolyses were performed in order to achieve the best conditions for extracting the three kinds of drugs from the protein matrix. First the opiate and cocainic compounds were extracted by means of a soft acidic hydrolysis with 0.1 N HCl at 50 degrees C overnight and organic solvent extraction at pH 9.2. The cannabinoids need a stronger basic hydrolysis with 11.8 N KOH for 10 min at laboratory temperature. After adding maleic acid, the cannabinoids were extracted with an organic solvent. The derivatization was carried out with heptafluorobutyric anhydride and hexafluoropropanol. Calibration curves were linear between 0.5-100 ng/mg of hair. Recovery and reproducibility were assured. The quantification limits ranged between 0.04-0.26 ng/mg of hair. Seventy hair samples from known drug abusers were cut into 1-cm segments and analyzed by this method. The ranges of measured concentrations (ng/mg) were 0.31-89 for cocaine, 0.1-5.76 for benzoylecgonine, 0.34-45.79 for morphine, 0.45-39.59 for codeine, 0.09-48.18 for monoacetylmorphine, 0.06-7.63 for THC and 0.06-3.87 for THC-COOH. The results of sectional analyses agreed with the self reported drug histories. The usefulness of this method is in assessing earlier drug consumption, and also at the same time obtaining a chronological profile of the consumption of these three types of drugs.
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