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CBG: a promising biomarker to detect recent cannabis use



Photo: DR

A groundbreaking study published in the journal Clinical Toxicology revealed an innovative approach to cannabis detection: the use of Cannabigerol (CBG) as a biomarker to identify recent cannabis use. Unlike other cannabinoids, CBG, a minor cannabinoid, emerges as an effective indicator of recent cannabis use. This discovery could help clarify forensic investigations and understand whether there has been recent use of cannabis in scenarios such as car accidents or workplace incidents, where detecting cannabis intoxication can be crucial.

In a comprehensive investigation conducted by Denver Health and Colorado University, 56 individuals participated, of which 32 were daily cannabis consumers and 24 were occasional consumers. Each participant consumed cannabis as they normally would, with blood samples taken immediately before and 30 minutes after consumption. The results were surprising: CBG was detected in 28 participants after smoking, highlighting its potential as an indicator of recent cannabis use.

CBG vs. THC: The crucial distinction

The importance lies in the unique characteristics of CBG. Unlike THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, CBG dissipates quickly from the bloodstream. This fleeting presence makes CBG an ideal marker for recent cannabis use, especially in scenarios such as car accidents or workplace incidents, where detection of active cannabis intoxication is crucial.

Accuracy of CBG as a Biomarker

O study established that a whole blood CBG concentration equal to or greater than 0,2 milligrams per liter (mg/L) had 96% specificity, 50% sensitivity and 73% accuracy in identifying cannabis consumption in the last 30 minutes. Although CBG proves to be highly specific but less sensitive, it serves as a valuable complement to other cannabinoids in blood in forensic investigations.

Challenges and future perspectives: Beyond THC

However, challenges to these findings remain. The study did not measure the exact amount of CBG present in the cannabis consumed, which limits accurate correlations. Furthermore, the time period for collecting blood samples may not correspond to real-life forensic situations and the effects of cannabis can still vary greatly from person to person. However, ongoing research explores the behaviors of various cannabinoids in the body after cannabis consumption, paving the way for a more comprehensive understanding of cannabis detection.

Unlike alcohol detection, cannabis intoxication poses complex challenges. THC, which remains in the body for weeks after use, complicates accurate detection. Study investigators are actively researching the pharmacokinetics of various cannabinoids following inhalation, with the goal of identifying additional biomarkers for cannabis use. Furthermore, as the market for broad-spectrum CBD products expands, it becomes imperative to consider their impact on blood cannabinoid levels, which increases the complexity of methods for detecting cannabis use.

In conclusion, this pioneering study lights the way to a more nuanced and accurate cannabis detection system. With the emergence of CBG as a promising biomarker, the future of detecting recent cannabis use is clearer than ever, promising safer roads and workplaces for everyone.


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