JWH-018 is one of several “designer drugs” recently added to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Schedule I, which contains drugs with no known medical use. This discovery will enable the introduction of more sensitive and specific urine drug testing for this drug and open up opportunities for testing to many forensic, clinical, workplace, and probation drug testing programs.
JWH-018, a drug with effects similar to marijuana, has escaped detection in many workplace or probation testing programs because the major metabolite present in human urine following use had been noted, but its identity had remained elusive until now. Other minor metabolites present at lower concentrations have been identified, but have caused the test to have limited sensitivity.
Dr. Barry Logan, Director of Forensic Services at NMS Labs noted that the availability of newly synthesized designer drugs not detectable by routine urine drug testing programs has increased the use of JWH-018 and related cannabinoids. He said, “Drug detection programs have been behind the curve in terms of keeping up with newly popular abused drugs. This discovery is an important contribution to understanding how more comprehensive testing can be performed, and how many more members of this large family of drugs can be detected.”
“The use of a wide range of state-of-the-art techniques including tandem mass spectrometry, time-of-flight mass spectrometry, and NMR were all critical to the identification of the metabolite and confirmation of its identity.”
NMS Labs President Dr. Eric Rieders stated, ” We are committed to maintaining our position of leadership in providing state-of-the-art lab tests that meet the challenges presented by this new world of dangerous abused designer drugs.”