Small Molecule Detection in Saliva Facilitates Portable Tests of Marijuana Abuse

Jung Rok Lee, Joohong Choi, Tyler O. Shultz, Shan X. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


As medical and recreational use of cannabis, or marijuana, becomes more prevalent, law enforcement needs a tool to evaluate whether drivers are operating vehicles under the influence of cannabis, specifically the psychoactive substance, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, the cutoff concentration of THC that causes impairment is still controversial, and current on-site screening tools are not sensitive enough to detect trace amounts of THC in oral fluids. Here we present a novel sensing platform that employs giant magnetoresistive (GMR) biosensors integrated with a portable reader system and smartphone to detect THC in saliva using competitive assays. With a simple saliva collection scheme, we have optimized the assay to measure THC in the range from 0 to 50 ng/mL, covering most cutoff values proposed in previous studies. This work facilitates on-site screening for THC and shows potential for testing of other small molecule drugs and analytes in point-of-care (POC) settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7457-7461
Number of pages5
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.


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