Synthetic cannabinoids in oral fluid

J Anal Toxicol. 2011 Sep;35(7):424-30. doi: 10.1093/anatox/35.7.424.


At the end of 2010, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) used its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control five chemicals, JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47497, and cannabicyclohexanol (CP-47497 C8), often referred to as "Spice", K2, or "synthetic cannabinoids" because of their reported cannabis-like effects. JWH-250 is commonly encountered, and HU-210 was already controlled, so these were also included in the research. We report the first analytical procedure for the simultaneous determination of these compounds in oral fluid specimens collected with the Quantisal™ device using solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry. The method was validated and applied to specimens taken from two individuals who had purchased the synthetic compounds while still legally available in the U.S. After a single session of smoking "Blueberry Posh", the peak concentration of JWH-018 detected was 35 μg/L 20 min after smoking; JWH-018 was still detectable 12 h after a single intake. After a single session of smoking "Black Mamba", JWH-018 was detected with a peak concentration of 5 μg/L after 20 min. In this subject, the compound was not detectable after 12 h.

MeSH terms

  • Calibration
  • Cannabinoids / analysis*
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods*
  • Drug Stability
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / analysis*
  • Limit of Detection
  • Reference Standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Specimen Handling
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization / methods*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*


  • Cannabinoids
  • Illicit Drugs