Marijuana is listed as a Schedule I substance under the American Controlled Substances Act of 1970. As more U.S. states and countries beyond the U.S. seek legalization, demands grow for identifying individuals driving under the influence (DUI) of marijuana. Currently no roadside DUI test exists for determining marijuana impairment, thus the merit lies in detecting the primary and the most sought psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana. Salivary THC levels are correlated to blood THC levels making it a non-invasive medium for rapid THC testing. Affinity biosensing is leveraged for THC biomarker detection through the chemical reaction between target THC and THC specific antibody to a measure signal output related to the concentration of the targeted biomarker. Here, we propose a novel, rapid, electrochemical biosensor for the detection of THC in saliva as a marijuana roadside DUI test with a lower detection limit of 1200 picogram per milliliter and a dynamic range ranging from 100 picogram per milliliter to 100 nanogram per milliliter in human saliva. The developed biosensor is the first of its kind to utilize affinity-based detection through impedimetric measurements with a rapid detection time of less than a minute. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis confirmed the successful immobilization of the THC immobilization assay on the biosensing platform. Zeta potential studies provided information regarding the stability and the electrochemical behavior of THC immunoassay in varying salivary pH buffers. We have demonstrated stable, dose dependent biosensing in varying salivary pH’s. The biosensor on integration with low-power electronics and a portable saliva swab serves as a roadside DUI hand-held platform for rapid identification of THC in saliva samples obtained from human subjects.
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