SOFT - TIAFT 1998 Poster Session 1 Wednesday October 7, 1998

Gary W. Kunsman, Barry Levine*, Michael L. Smith* and Cynthia M. Kunsman**

Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA
* Division of Forensic Toxicology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C. 20306, USA
** Gilead Health Associates, Pasadena, MD 21122, USA

The Division of Forensic Toxicology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, conducted a study to determine if the consumption of Hempenale® caused positive cannabinoid urinalysis results using 4 immunoassay screens. Hempenale® is a beer brewed with hemp seeds and, although these seeds contain no THC, they do contain a number of other cannabinoids that are found in marijuana. It is possible that military members whose random urinalysis yields a positive cannabinoid result will claim that they simply drank Hempenale® and, for this reason, were positive on the marijuana screen. The objective of this study was to determine the validity of this contention in order that proper defense and prosecution of positive cannabinoid urinalysis cases may proceed without undue burden on either the defendant or on the government.

Ten subjects were included in the study 9 of whom drank Hempenale® ad libitum within a single day (total number of ales consumed ranged from 5 to 14). Urine specimens were collected throughout the drinking period. The 10th individual drank two Hempenale® each day over an 8-day period, collecting urine specimens before and after drinking.

In total, 146 urine specimens were collected and assayed using the Abbott AxSYM (FPIA), STC Micro-Plate (EIA), Roche Online (KIMS), and Immunalysis (RIA) immunoassay kits. Positive immunoassay results were subsequently analyzed for 11-nor-delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol-9-carboxylic acid using a gas chromatography/mass spectrometry method. All of the immunoassay results were negative except for 10 specimens analyzed by RIA; all of these specimens were negative by the GC/MS method. These results suggest that Hempenale®, when consumed in a "normal" pattern of social drinking, will not cause a positive cannabinoid urinalysis result, thereby effectively invalidating the "Hempenale® defense".

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