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Long-term Stability of Synthetic Cannabinoids in Biological Matrices

Award Information

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Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $457,046)

As submitted by the applicant: Synthetic cannabinoids are an emerging drug of abuse that are sold over the Internet and in local headshops as herbal products to individuals who smoke them for their marijuana-like effects.Commonly encountered drugs of abuse have been well defined in regard to their stability in a variety of matrices for short-term and long-term storage and recommendations on the collection, storage, and preservation of specimens containing such drugs and drug metabolites have been made. However, there exists a gap in research pertaining to the stability of emerging compounds such as synthetic cannabinoids. Only a few published resources are available that address synthetic cannabinoid stability outside of routine validation which only addresses processed and freeze/thaw stability. In addition, those that do exist are representative of the original JWH-series and are not reflective of the changing trends of synthetic cannabinoids that may have vastly different stability outcomes. Also, these literature resources are fragmented on the type of biological specimens and stability parameters addressed. We propose to complete a comprehensive investigation of synthetic cannabinoids, with different core structures, and their major metabolites with respect to their short-term and long-term stability in both urine and whole blood. It is important to establish an understanding of these compounds’ stability under different conditions such as room temperature, refrigerator temperatures (2-8°C), and freezer temperature (-20°C) as these are all typical conditions expected once specimens are collected. We plan to address any instability issues by determining stabilizers for those compounds. In addition, we plan to identify degradant components and determine their suitability as markers in authentic samples for specific classes of synthetic cannabinoids and metabolites. The unique relationship that RTI International has with many forensic toxicology laboratories will allow for wide dissemination of study results to the forensic toxicology community. In addition to submitting regular financial reports, a semi-annual progress report, and a final report to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), RTI plans to publish study results in peer-reviewed journals accessible to the forensic toxicology community. We plan to present the results at prominent forensic toxicology conferences such as the Society of Forensic Toxicologists’ annual meeting. All analytical data, along with prepared financial, semi-annual progress, and final reports, will be made available for archiving by the NIJ Data Resource Program. As part of this research study, we have obtained letters of support from Ameritox and Burlington Labs for providing authentic specimens and Cayman Chemical. Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 18, 2016