Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant. It can be detected and quantified in biological samples with relative ease, using a conjugation of THC molecules covalently bound to the animal protein bovine serum albumin (BSA). THC-BSA is a versatile conjugate suitable for application via standard immunochromatographic assays and all variations of the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) analysis method.
Complicating the use of THC-BSA for detecting the presence of THC metabolites in biological samples is the increasing complexity of modern cannabis products and its synthetic variants. In this blog post, Pyxis Labs explores the use of THC-BSA in an increasingly challenging marketplace in more detail.
Development of THC-BSA
Cannabis has been consumed for millennia for medicinal, recreational, and even theological purposes. For centuries before the common era (BCE), various pharmacological cults would smoke cannabis to achieve a trance-like state that was believed to be spiritual in nature. It is only relatively recently that neurological studies have linked this psychoactive effect directly to the mechanism of action of THC, also known as delta-9-THC.
Delta-9-THC is a partial agonist of cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system and various peripheral tissues. It is just one of over a hundred cannabinoids that have been successfully isolated and characterized from cannabis, but it is among the most potent. Since its discovery in 1964, THC has been linked to the most detrimental side effects of cannabis consumption including lethargy, paranoia, and anxiety. THC-BSA was subsequently synthesized using Delta-9-THC molecules, for the rapid detection and quantification of THC metabolites in biological samples for drug studies and toxicology screening.
Delta-8-THC is generally present at significantly reduced concentrations in cannabis compared to Delta-9-THC. The two are analogous, although Delta-8-THC generally exhibits a reduced psychotropic potency. Companies with a vested interest in the increasing commercialization of recreational cannabis have explored methods of concentrating Delta-8-THC into a distillate product. The efficacy of Delta-9-THC-BSA in detecting Delta-8-THC is unclear. As such, it is increasingly important to subject biological analytes to testing using proprietary Delta-8-THC-BSA.
More difficult still is the detection of synthetic cannabinoids known as spice. These designer drugs are structurally similar to THC, with significantly higher bioactivity and heightened physiological effects. Conventional THC-BSA is unable to detect spice at any concentration.
THC-BSA from Pyxis Labs
Pyxis is the US’s leading manufacturer of tailor-made drug conjugates for research and analytical testing applications. We offer THC-BSA in both Delta-8-THC-BSA and Delta-9-THC-BSA variations. Our product range also includes JWH-018, for the detection and quantification of synthetic cannabis.
If you would like any more information about our THC-BSA products, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.