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Thermo Announces Two New Immunoassays Designed to Detect Synthetic Cannabinoids

Credit: Lance Cpl. Damany S. Coleman

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 Two new immunoassays for the detection of Synthetic Cannabinoids, the Thermo Fisher CEDIA AB-PINACA and CEDIA UR-144/XLR11 Assays are now available for Criminal Justice and Forensic Use.  Synthetic Cannabinoids are the largest and fastest growing group of new psychoactive substances on the market, making the availability of these assays important tools for law enforcement.

"These assays detect a broad spectrum of metabolites and structurally similar compounds, allowing users to get the most out of a single immunoassay screen," said Tony Prestigiacomo, senior director of research and development, clinical diagnostics at Thermo Fisher. "Even compounds that may not be detected by themselves due to their low cross-reactivity could collectively contribute to a positive result due to this cumulative response."

Sold under common brand names that include "Spice," "K2," and "Kronic," synthetic drugs act upon the cannabinoid receptors in the body, mimicking to varying degrees the main active chemical found in marijuana.  However, they can be four to one hundred times more potent than marijuana and are linked to increased emergency room hospitalizations and even fatalities. Chemicals are sprayed or soaked on to a mixture of shredded plant material and often marketed on the internet or in smoke shops and labeled as incense. 

Due to the prevalence of these drugs and their potential for adverse health effects, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has placed both UR-144 and XLR-11 as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substance Act, and since January 2017, the DEA has been in the final stages of officially categorizing AB-CHMINACA and AB-PINACA as Schedule I substances.

The CEDIA Synthetic Cannabinoid Assays are no-wash (homogeneous) immunoassays and utilize patented CEDIA technology, a lyophilized formulation that is easily reconstituted and run in both qualitative and semi-quantitative modes. They are an easy-to-use screening tool for Synthetic Cannabinoids in human urine. Applications are available for a variety of clinical chemistry analyzers.

All trademarks are the property of Thermo Fisher Scientific and its subsidiaries unless otherwise specified. CEDIA is a trademark of Roche Diagnostics.