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Redwood Toxicology Laboratory announces oral test for three synthetic cannabinoids

November 18, 2010
by News release
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Santa Rosa, CA - Redwood Toxicology Laboratory, Inc. (RTL) announced it now offers one of the first lab-based tests for the detection of synthetic cannabinoids JWH-018, JWH-073 and JWH-250 in oral fluid/saliva.

Synthetic cannabinoids are compounds functionally similar to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principle active ingredient of cannabis, and are widely abused throughout the U.S. These chemicals are sprayed on herbal material and sold as "synthetic marijuana" under a variety of brand names.

RTL currently tests for synthetic cannabinoids JWH-018 and JWH-073 metabolites in urine, and very high positive rates (30 - 35%) have been found in court-ordered juvenile probation departments throughout the U.S. RTL's percent positive information and epidemiological data should prove useful to policymakers trying to pass legislation to control and ban the distribution, sale and use of synthetic cannabinoids.

The manufacturers of these products are constantly changing the psychoactive ingredient(s) to get around existing laws, and synthetic cannabinoids like JWH-250, JWH-019, JWH-081 and CP47 497-C8 are now found in various preparations. However, RTL's high positivity rate on JWH-018 and JWH-073 indicate they are still the main psychoactive chemicals used.

RTL's new synthetic cannabinoid oral fluid test will utilize the most sophisticated, sensitive and specific equipment and technology available, LC/MS/MS (liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry) to provide parent drug confirmation of JWH-018, JWH-073 and JWH-250.

"The high positivity rates that we are finding in urine really emphasize the need to offer more laboratory analytical solutions to detect the predominant synthetic cannabinoids in biological fluids," said Sumandeep Rana, Scientific Director, RTL. "That's why we developed and validated an analytical method to detect JWH-018, JWH-073 and JWH-250 in saliva."

Added Rana: "A wide array of parent synthetic cannabinoids can be detected in saliva, and we are working on adding more compounds to the saliva test. Saliva is easier, more convenient and less invasive to collect than blood and urine. It's difficult to adulterate or dilute and ideal for recent-use detection. Plus, the use of saliva allows us to stay current with the ever-changing array and combinations of synthetic cannabinoids being manufactured and distributed by designer drug 'chemists'."

Wayne Ross, Chief Toxicologist for RTL said, "Our lab is at the forefront of researching and identifying synthetic cannabinoids. In an effort to monitor and deter use and abuse of these compounds, RTL is continually testing products distributed on the Internet and in outlets such as gas stations and 'head shops'." More information, including a list of synthetic cannabinoids, is available at
http://www.redwoodtoxicology.com/services/synthetic_cannabinoid_testing.html.

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