Saliva collection is a technique that is becoming more prominent in many clinics. Collecting a person’s saliva has many advantages when comparing the use of urine in testing for the presence of drugs. The most apparent advantage is that the drug test sample is less prone to being diluted and the collection process is easier. Here at MedScan Lab, we are excited to branch out and delve into saliva testing. Keep checking our News page to stay updated.
What are synthetic cannabinoids?
Synthetic cannabinoids are chemical compounds that are engineered to mimic the effect of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Synthetic cannabinoids were first developed for pain management research. However, these psychoactive chemicals are being sprayed on or mixed with smoking blends. The most common types are JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-250, JWH-081, JWH-210, AM-2201, and RCS-4. These drugs went on sale in the early 2000s and can be bought over the internet or local stores. This complex variety is used to avoid the laws and to fool drug tests. Once the active ingredient is made illegal, a new one is engineered and therefore legal to be sold.
What are the effects of synthetic cannabinoids?
These synthetic cannabinoids do not contain cannabis but when ingested produce a high similar to 4 to 100 times stronger than marijuana. There have been many reports about the adverse effects including agitation, confusion, rapid heart rate, dizziness, nausea and some cases causing a catatonic state. In addition, some fatalities have been reported. The long term effect is unknown
The challenge with drug testing
Though synthetic cannabinoids mimic the effect of THC, the chemical compounds are dramatically more complex. Standard instant screens will not come up positive for synthetic cannabinoids and instant screens designed specifically for synthetic cannabinoids only detect the active ingredients that have been on the market for long periods of time. The problem with this is the arena of synthetic cannabinoids is continuously evolving. Once the specific version of the drug is added the chemical compound is slightly altered making a new version unable to detect on the instant screen.
We are able to test for synthetic marijuana by utilizing an LC-MS/MS. This procedure screens for synthetic cannabinoids listed below and their metabolites by fragmenting the compounds and checking the fragments against a synthetic cannabinoid library that is updated monthly. By using this instrument as well as working with law enforcement and drug specialist we are able to keep ahead of the drug trends. All this with a 24-hr turnaround on results.