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.
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ABSTRACT: In recent years, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with tandem mass spectrometric (MS/MS) detection has been demonstrated to be a powerful technique for the quantitative determination of drugs and metabolites in biological fluids. However, the common and early perception that utilization of HPLC-MS/MS practically guarantees selectivity is being challenged by a number of reported examples of lack of selectivity due to ion suppression or enhancement caused by the sample matrix and interferences from metabolites. In light of these serious method liabilities, questions about how to develop and validate reliable HPLC-MS/MS methods, especially for supporting long-term human pharmacokinetic studies, are being raised. The central issue is what experiments, in addition to the validation data usually provided for the conventional bioanalytical methods, need to be conducted to confirm HPLC-MS/MS assay selectivity and reliability. The current regulatory requirements include the need for the assessment and elimination of the matrix effect in the bioanalytical methods, but the experimental procedures necessary to assess the matrix effect are not detailed. Practical, experimental approaches for studying, identifying, and eliminating the effect of matrix on the results of quantitative analyses by HPLC-MS/MS are described in this paper. Using as an example a set of validation experiments performed for one of our investigational new drug candidates, the concepts of the quantitative assessment of the "absolute" versus "relative" matrix effect are introduced. In addition, experiments for the determination of, the "true" recovery of analytes using HPLC-MS/MS are described eliminating the uncertainty about the effect of matrix on the determination of this commonly measured method parameter. Determination of the matrix effect allows the assessment of the reliability and selectivity of an existing HPLC-MS/MS method. If the results of these studies are not satisfactory, the parameters determined may provide a guide to what changes in the method need to be made to improve assay selectivity. In addition, a direct comparison of the extent of the matrix effect using two different interfaces (a heated nebulizer, HN, and ion spray, ISP) under otherwise the same sample preparation and chromatographic conditions was made. It was demonstrated that, for the investigational drug under study, the matrix effect was clearly observed when ISP interface was utilized but it was absent when the HN interface was employed.Analytical Chemistry 08/2003; 75(13):3019-30. · 5.70 Impact Factor
Article: Marijuana as doping in sports.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: A high incidence of positive cases for cannabinoids, in analyses for doping control in sports, has been observed since the International Olympic Committee (IOC) included them in the 1989 list of prohibited drugs under the title of classes of prohibited substances in certain circumstances. Where the rules of sports federations so provide, tests are conducted for marijuana, hashish or any other cannabis product exposure by means of urinalysis of 11-nor-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid (carboxy-THC) the main metabolite of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Concentrations >15 ng/mL (cut-off value) in confirmatory analytical procedures are considered doping. Cannabis is an illicit drug in several countries and has received much attention in the media for its potential therapeutic uses and the efforts to legalise its use. Studies have demonstrated that the use of cannabinoids can reduce anxiety, but it does not have ergogenic potential in sports activities. An increase in heart rate and blood pressure, decline of cardiac output and reduced psychomotor activity are some of the pharmacological effects of THC that will determine a decrease in athletic performance. An ergolytic activity of cannabis products has been observed in athletes of several different sport categories. In Brazil, analyses for doping control in sports, performed in our laboratories, have detected positive cases for carboxy-THC in urine samples of soccer, volleyball, cycling and other athletes. It is our intention to discuss in this article some points that may discourage individuals from using cannabis products during sports activities, even in the so-called permitted circumstances defined by the IOC and some sports federations.Sports Medicine 01/2003; 33(6):395-9. · 5.24 Impact Factor