JWH-018 and JWH-073 are both synthetic compounds with biological similarities to ∆9-THC, the component in Marijuana that is responsible for the psychoactive properties of the drug. JWH-018 and JWH-073 and similar substances are collectively known as SYNTHETIC CANNABINOIDS. These compounds are known to be illegal in many European countries and their possession and use are also prohibited by a growing number of local governments within the United States; however, neither JWH-018 or JWH-073 is currently classified as a controlled substance by the U.S. federal government (as of Sept 2010). The DEA has identified these compounds as Drugs and Chemicals of Concern.
JWH-018 and JWH073 have been identified as additives in various herbal products such as SPICE and K2. Although these products are marketed as incense not for human consumption, they are commonly smoked for the psychoactive properties associated with the synthetic cannabinoids. Users report perceived effects similar to marijuana, but with a shorter duration of action. Once consumed, these compounds are rapidly metabolized in the body and excreted in the urine as a series of related metabolites.
Our lab has developed a new test capable of finding the recent use of JWH-018 and JWH-073. The procedure utilizes advanced, state of the art forensic technology; high performance liquid chromatography coupled to linear ion trap tandem mass spectrometry. The methodology detects and positively identifies the presence of metabolites of JWH-018 and JWH-073 in urine.