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Neukamm MA, Mürdter TE, Wehner HD, Wehner F, Ratge D, Knabbe C.
“Quantitative determination of the active ’Spice’ ingredient JWH-018 in blood by liquid chromatography - tandem mass spectrometry”.
OBJECTIVE: The incense ‘Spice’ and similar herbal mixtures receive growing interest in the public. Consumers have reported a hallucinogenic effect from smoking ‘Spice’. Recently, synthetic cannabinoids have been identified as active ingredients of ‘Spice’. The German penal code prosecutes persons who drive a motor vehicle unsafely following consumption of inebriating substances. Therefore the legitimate basis of the sanction is analytical proof of psycho-active substances in the driver’s blood.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The incense mixtures Spice Arctic Synergy, Spice Silver, Spice Gold, Sence, Smoke Rubin, Genie and Silent Black were screened for their ingredients. Methanolic extractions were analysed on a GC Agilent Technologies 7890 A, MSD HP5975 with phenylmethylsiloxan capillary column. For the detection in blood, solid phase extraction on Varian BondEluteC18 cartridge has been carried out after addition of the internal standard d7-JWH-018. The extracts were analysed on a Waters Alliance LC-MS/MS-system with Micromass Quattro micro API Triple-quadrupol. Two transitions in ‘multiple reaction monitoring’ mode and the retention time were employed to provide unambiguous identification of the substance.
RESULTS: Three of the incense mixtures contained a CP47,497-C8-Homologe, one mixture contained both the CP47,497-C8-Homologe and JWH-018, one mixture contained only JWH-018 and in two mixtures no active cannabinoid was found. A method for the quantitative determination of JWH-018 in blood was developed and validated. The method’s limit of detection and limit of quantitation were 0.2 ng/ml and 0.6 ng/ml respectively. The accuracy and precision showed a mean variation of 5 and 4 respectively. Other common drugs did not interfere with this highly selective quantification of JWH-018 in blood. Using this detection method to test forensic blood samples, JWH-018 concentrations ranging from 0.2 ng/ml to 3.3 ng/ml were measured. Therefore it is possible to detect and to quantify JWH-018 – one of the psycho-active ingredients of the incense drug ‘Spice’.
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