Development and Validation of a Quantitative Method for Identification of Synthetic Cannabinoids Using HPLC
Heidel, Kenneth M.
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New designer drugs have posed difficult to detection by analytical methods due to the capability of substituting analogs for illegal substances. These synthetic cannabinoids were first developed by John W. Huffman and now number in the hundreds. Many of these synthetics have been temporarily scheduled in the United States and banned in other countries, but continue be labeled as “not for human consumption” in herbal incenses. While gas chromatography-‐mass spectrometry (GC/MS) has been classically used to detect the cannabinoids, a method using high-‐ performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with detection by absorbance has yet to be reported. This led to the determination of a method using HPLC to detect the cannabinoids in herbal incenses, as well as the determination of a valid internal standard. Furthermore, many methods that have been previously reported have not quantitatively reported the amount of synthetics present. The method reported here is capable of doing so, and was used to quantify the amount of synthetic cannabinoids detected in a sample set of herbal incenses.