Screening for the synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 and its major metabolites in human doping controls.
ABSTRACT Referred to as 'spice', several new drugs, advertised as herbal blends, have appeared on the market in the last few years, in which the synthetic cannabinoids JWH-018 and a C(8) homologue of CP 47,497 were identified as major active ingredients. Due to their reported cannabis-like effects, many European countries have banned these substances. The World Anti-Doping Agency has also explicitly prohibited synthetic cannabinoids in elite sport in-competition. Since urine specimens have been the preferred doping control samples, the elucidation of the metabolic pathways of these substances is of particular importance to implement them in sports drug testing programmes. In a recent report, an in vitro phase-I metabolism study of JWH-018 was presented yielding mainly hydroxylated and N-dealkylated metabolites. Due to these findings, a urine sample of a healthy man declaring to have smoked a 'spice' product was screened for potential phase-I and -II metabolites by high-resolution/high-accuracy mass spectrometry in the present report. The majority of the phase-I metabolites observed in earlier in vitro studies of JWH-018 were detected in this urine specimen and furthermore most of their respective monoglucuronides. As no intact JWH-018 was detectable, the monohydroxylated metabolite being the most abundant one was chosen as a target analyte for sports drug testing purposes; a detection method was subsequently developed and validated in accordance to conventional screening protocols based on enzymatic hydrolysis, liquid-liquid extraction, and liquid chromatography/electrospray tandem mass spectrometry analysis. The method was applied to approximately 7500 urine doping control samples yielding two JWH-018 findings and demonstrated its capability for a sensitive and selective identification of JWH-018 and its metabolites in human urine.
Article: Phase I hydroxylated metabolites of the K2 synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 retain in vitro and in vivo cannabinoid 1 receptor affinity and activity.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: K2 products are synthetic cannabinoid-laced, marijuana-like drugs of abuse, use of which is often associated with clinical symptoms atypical of marijuana use, including hypertension, agitation, hallucinations, psychosis, seizures and panic attacks. JWH-018, a prevalent K2 synthetic cannabinoid, is structurally distinct from Δ(9)-THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Since even subtle structural differences can lead to differential metabolism, formation of novel, biologically active metabolites may be responsible for the distinct effects associated with K2 use. The present study proposes that K2's high adverse effect occurrence is due, at least in part, to distinct JWH-018 metabolite activity at the cannabinoid 1 receptor (CB1R). JWH-018, five potential monohydroxylated metabolites (M1-M5), and one carboxy metabolite (M6) were examined in mouse brain homogenates containing CB1Rs, first for CB1R affinity using a competition binding assay employing the cannabinoid receptor radioligand [(3)H]CP-55,940, and then for CB1R intrinsic efficacy using an [(35)S]GTPγS binding assay. JWH-018 and M1-M5 bound CB1Rs with high affinity, exhibiting K(i) values that were lower than or equivalent to Δ(9)-THC. These molecules also stimulated G-proteins with equal or greater efficacy relative to Δ(9)-THC, a CB1R partial agonist. Most importantly, JWH-018, M2, M3, and M5 produced full CB1R agonist levels of activation. CB1R-mediated activation was demonstrated by blockade with O-2050, a CB1R-selective neutral antagonist. Similar to Δ(9)-THC, JWH-018 and M1 produced a marked depression of locomotor activity and core body temperature in mice that were both blocked by the CB1R-preferring antagonist/inverse agonist AM251. Unlike metabolites of most drugs, the studied JWH-018 monohydroxylated compounds, but not the carboxy metabolite, retain in vitro and in vivo activity at CB1Rs. These observations, combined with higher CB1R affinity and activity relative to Δ(9)-THC, may contribute to the greater prevalence of adverse effects observed with JWH-018-containing products relative to cannabis.PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(7):e21917. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Analysis of 30 synthetic cannabinoids in oral fluid using liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In recent years, the analysis of synthetic cannabinoids in human specimens has gained enormous importance in the broad field of drug testing. Nevertheless, the considerable structural diversity among synthetic cannabinoids already identified in 'herbal mixtures' hampers the development of comprehensive analytical methods. As the identification of the main metabolites of newly appearing substances is very laborious and time-consuming, the detection of the parent compounds in blood samples is the current approach of choice for drug abstinence testing. Whenever blood sampling is not possible however, the need for alternative matrices arises. In this article, we present a fully validated liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (LC/ESI-MS/MS) method for the analysis of 30 synthetic cannabinoids in oral fluid samples collected with the Dräger DCD 5000 collection device. The method proved to be suitable for the quantification of 28 substances. The limits of detection were in the range from 0.015 to 0.9 ng/ml, while the lower limits of quantification ranged from 0.15 to 3.0 ng/ml. The method was successfully applied to 264 authentic samples during routine analysis. A total of 31 samples (12%) was tested positive for at least one of the following synthetic cannabinoids: AM-694, AM-2201, JWH-018, JWH-019, JWH-081, JWH-122, JWH-203, JWH-210, JWH-250, JWH-307, MAM-2201, and RCS-4. Given that stabilization of the collection pads after sampling is warranted, the collection device provides satisfactory sensitivity. Hence, whenever blood sampling is not possible, the Dräger DCD 5000 collection device offers a good tool for the analysis of synthetic cannabinoids in oral fluid in the broad field of drug testing. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.Drug Testing and Analysis 10/2012; · 2.54 Impact Factor