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Keeping Up with Synthetic Cannabinoids Using Mass Spec

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Facts about Synthetic Cannabinoids and why you need to pay attention to evolving science

  1. Synthetic Cannabinoids are easy to purchase as they are sold in many different forms online and at gas stations across the country
  2. Each batch varies as manufacturers can make chemical changes to the drug, eluding DEA regulation. “They are making something that’s not even illegal yet.”
  3. It’s the most used drug by high school students second only to marijuana

Mass spectrometry has proven an excellent tool for testing due to its flexibility to add new analytes as soon as new references become available. Even more compounds have been added to the DEA’s list of controlled substances.

Forensic screening methods for JWH-018 and JWH-073 and their metabolites (two of the main ingredients found in synthetic cannabinoids) using QTRAP technology have already been developed. In 2010, and this validated forensic screening method has been updated to detect JWH-081 and JWH-250 and their metabolites.  This is important news when it comes to drug enforcement since the DEA initially announced they would be controlling five synthetic cannabinoids (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47, and CP47-C8 homologue). Meanwhile, replacement compounds quickly emerged to include JWH- 081 and JWH-250.

You can read about the results in, “Detecting a New Wave of K2/Spice in Human Urine.” The main takeaways from the article are this:

  • Primary compounds are known to maintain a short half-life
  • A lack of standards and control samples in positive urine samples and metabolite identification becomes an intricate process
  • JWH-081 and JWH-250 were incubated in human liver microsomes in which hepatocytes and the in vitro metabolite pathway was identified for each compound
  • One injection and four cannabinoid injections scanned against the MS/MS library for a definite confirmation
  • Major metabolites identified

Download to learn more:

“Designer Forensic Drug Analysis Solutions”
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