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Choi H.,National Forensic Service Narcotics Analysis Division | Heo S.,National Forensic Service Narcotics Analysis Division | Choe S.,National Forensic Service Narcotics Analysis Division | Yang W.,National Forensic Service Narcotics Analysis Division | And 4 more authors.
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry | Year: 2013

A rapid and simple gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) method was developed and validated to identify and quantify synthetic cannabinoids in the materials seized during drug trafficking. Accuracy and reproducibility of the method were improved by using deuterated JWH-018 and JWH-073 as internal standards. Validation results of the GC-MS method showed that it was suitable for simultaneous qualitative and quantitative analyses of synthetic cannabinoids, and we analyzed synthetic cannabinoids in seized materials using the validated GC-MS method. As a result of the analysis, ten species of synthetic cannabinoids were identified in dried leaves (n040), bulk powders (n06), and tablets (n014) seized in Korea during 2009-2012, as a single ingredient or as a mixture with other active co-ingredients. JWH-018 and JWH-073 were the most frequently identified compounds in the seized materials. Synthetic cannabinoids in the dried leaves showed broad concentration ranges, which may cause unexpected toxicity to abusers. The bulk powders were considered as raw materials used to prepare legal highs, and they contained single ingredient of JWH-073, JWH-019, or JWH-250 with the purity over 70 %. In contrast, JWH-018 and JWH-073 contents in the tablets were 7.1-13.8 and 3.0-10.2 mg/g, respectively. Relatively low contents in the tablets suggest that the synthetic cannabinoids may have been added to the tablets as supplements to other active co-ingredients. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012.

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