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Forensic Chemistry of Substituted 1-Alkyl-3-Acylindoles: Isomeric Synthetic Cannabinoids

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2018
15 pages

This is the Final Summary Overview of the results and methodology of a project whose goal was to establish an analytical framework for the identification of individual substituted indoles to the exclusion of all other possible isomeric and homologous forms of these compounds, so as to facilitate the analysis of synthetic cannabinoids.


The project produced a significant amount of fundamental forensic chemical data that resolves numerous issues related to regioisomerism in indole-based synthetic cannabinoids. It has produced information and data sets that improve the forensic chemistry knowledge base and produced a scientifically skilled forensic expert available to interact at the interface of the legal system and the science of forensic drug chemistry of synthetic cannabinoids. The project achieved analytical specificity by the chemical synthesis of complete sets of regioisomeric reference compounds for selected substituted indoles. It also produced an analytical profile for each compound. Chromatographic studies were conducted to separate/resolve all regioisomeric cannabinoids that have overlapping analytical profiles, and it designed and validated confirmation-level analytical methods to identify each compound to the exclusion of other regioisomeric forms. Project design and methods are described, and data analysis is explained. Appended listing of project publications and figures that show project results

Date Published: December 1, 2018