Analysis of 30 synthetic cannabinoids in serum by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry after liquid-liquid extraction
Article first published online: 4 JUL 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Journal of Mass Spectrometry
Volume 47, Issue 7, pages 825–835, July 2012
How to Cite
Kneisel, S. and Auwärter, V. (2012), Analysis of 30 synthetic cannabinoids in serum by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry after liquid-liquid extraction. J. Mass Spectrom., 47: 825–835. doi: 10.1002/jms.3020
- Issue published online: 4 JUL 2012
- Article first published online: 4 JUL 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 24 APR 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 24 APR 2012
- Manuscript Received: 22 MAR 2012
- synthetic cannabinoids;
The analysis of synthetic cannabinoids in human matrices is of particular importance in the fields of forensic and clinical toxicology since cannabis users partly shift to the consumption of ‘herbal mixtures’ as a legal alternative to cannabis products in order to circumvent drug testing. However, comprehensive methods covering the majority of synthetic cannabinoids already identified on the drug market are still lacking.
In this article, we present a fully validated method for the analysis of 30 synthetic cannabinoids in human serum utilizing liquid-liquid extraction and liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry. The method proved to be suitable for the quantification of 27 substances. The limits of detection ranged from 0.01 to 2.0 ng/mL, whereas the lower limits of quantification were in the range from 0.1 to 2.0 ng/mL. The presented method was successfully applied to 833 authentic serum samples during routine analysis between August 2011 and January 2012. A total of 227 (27%) samples was tested positive for at least one of the following synthetic cannabinoids: JWH-018, JWH-019, JWH-073, JWH-081, JWH-122, JWH-200, JWH-203, JWH-210, JWH-307, AM-2201 and RCS-4. The most prevalent compounds in positive samples were JWH-210 (80%), JWH-122 (63%) as well as AM-2201 (29%). Median serum concentrations were all below 1.0 ng/mL. These findings demonstrate a significant shift of the market of synthetic cannabinoids towards substances featuring a higher CB1 binding affinity and clearly emphasize that the analysis of synthetic cannabinoids in serum or blood samples requires highly sensitive analytical methods covering a wide spectrum of substances. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.