University Of Tasmania

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Chloroform-based liquid-liquid extraction and LC–MS/MS quantification of endocannabinoids, cortisol and progesterone in human hair

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 23:07 authored by Ney, LJ, Felmingham, KL, Raimondo BrunoRaimondo Bruno, Allison MatthewsAllison Matthews, David NicholsDavid Nichols
Understanding the role of endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) in disease is of increasing importance. However, tools to investigate endocannabinoid levels in humans are limited. In the current study, we report a simplified sample preparation method for quantifying endocannabinoids and steroid hormones in hair using liquid-liquid extraction combined with ultra performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. The fully validated method is at least R2 = 0.99 linear between 5 and 1,000 pg/mg for each analyte and the detection limits are at or below 0.50 pg/mg for cortisol, progesterone, oleoylethanolamide, and arachidonoyl ethanolamide, and 2.65 pg/mg for 2-arachidonoyl glycerol. Sequential extraction of hair samples revealed that multiple extractions may be required for quantitative recovery of steroids. However endogenous cannabinoids were efficiently recovered using a single sample extraction. The method was applied to a psychosocial stress study where participants provided samples of both hair and saliva. Endogenous hair arachidonoyl ethanolamide levels were negatively associated with resting, but not stressed, salivary cortisol levels in healthy participants. This simplified method enables the detailed study of hormonal and endocannabinoids in human hair with high sensitivity.


Publication title

Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis



Article number







School of Psychological Sciences


Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd

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Socio-economic Objectives

Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions

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