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Identification of Synthetic Cannabinoids in Herbal Incense Blends in the United States


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Barry K. Logan, Ph.D.
NMS Labs
2300 Stratford Avenue
Willow Grove, PA 19090


Abstract:  Synthetic cannabinoid agonists are chemically diverse with multiple analogs gaining popularity as drugs of abuse. We report on the use of thin layer chromatography, gas chromatography mass spectrometry, high-performance liquid chromatography, and liquid chromatography time of flight mass spectrometry for the identification and quantitation of these pharmacologically active chemicals in street drug dosage forms. Using these approaches, we have identified the synthetic cannabinoids JWH-018, JWH-019, JWH-073, JWH-081, JWH-200, JWH-210, JWH-250, CP47,497 (C=8) (cannabicyclohexanol), RCS-4, RCS-8, AM-2201, and AM-694 in various commercially available products. Other noncannabinoid drugs including mitragynine have also been detected. Typical concentrations of drug in the materials are in the range 5–20 mg/g, or 0.5–2% by weight for each compound, although many products contained more than one drug.