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, 10 (5), 886-891

Phase I Metabolism of the Recently Emerged Synthetic Cannabinoid CUMYL-PEGACLONE and Detection in Human Urine Samples

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Phase I Metabolism of the Recently Emerged Synthetic Cannabinoid CUMYL-PEGACLONE and Detection in Human Urine Samples

Lukas Mogler et al. Drug Test Anal.

Abstract

Indole-, indazole-, or azaindole-based synthetic cannabinoids (SCs), bearing a cumyl substituent are a widespread, recreationally used subgroup of new psychoactive substances (NPS). The latest cumyl-derivative, CUMYL-PEGACLONE, emerged in December 2016 on the German drug market. The substance features a novel γ-carboline core structure, which is most likely synthesized to bypass generic legislative approaches to control SCs by prohibiting distinct core structures. Using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry techniques, the main in vivo phase I metabolites of this new substance were detected. A pooled human liver microsome assay was applied to generate in vitro reference spectra of CUMYL-PEGACLONE phase I metabolites. Additionally, 30 urine samples were investigated leading to 22 in vivo metabolites. A metabolite mono-hydroxylated at the γ-carbolinone core system and a metabolite with an additional carbonyl group at the pentyl side chain were evaluated as highly specific and sensitive markers to proof CUMYL-PEGACLONE uptake. Moreover, 3 immunochemical assays commonly used for SC screening in urine were tested for their capability of detecting the new drug but failed due to insufficient cross-reactivity.

Keywords: designer drugs; metabolites; new psychoactive substances; proof of consumption; γ-carbolinone.

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