Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Advanced drug testing method detects 'spice' drugs

Date:
July 12, 2012
Source:
RTI International
Summary:
A new method of drug testing makes it possible to detect a wider range of synthetically-produced ‘designer’ drugs.

A new method of drug testing developed by researchers at RTI International makes it possible to detect a wider range of synthetically-produced 'designer' drugs.

Related Articles


Designer drugs -- which include the currently popular products known as "spice" or "bath salts" -- are a new form of drugs that are easy to manufacture and difficult to recognize using traditional testing methods.

Traditional tests, which use targeted mass spectrometry to match a compound's chemical makeup with that of a known drug, can't identify many of these new synthetic drugs.

Because these substances are continually being developed, many of them are not yet classified as illegal, but they provide a similar high as the traditional substance they are imitating.

RTI's new method has the potential to aid law enforcement in the detection and control of this growing area of drug abuse.

Instead of relying on an exact match, RTI's approach looks more generally for compounds whose fractional mass -- the compound's molecular weight that lies to the right of the decimal point -- is similar to that of a known drug.

"Detecting designer drugs is challenging because as bans on specific compounds go into effect, manufacturers can substitute a closely related substance, creating a constantly moving target," said Megan Grabenauer, Ph.D., a research chemist at RTI and lead investigator of the study. "But while the structure of designer drugs can be altered to avoid detection, the fractional mass stays relatively stable, making it a useful marker for identification."

In a pilot study, published in the July 3 issue of Analytical Chemistry, researchers tested 32 herbal incense samples for synthetic cannabinoids, which produce psychotropic effects similar to those of cannabis but with more common and severe side effects, which include agitation, hallucinations, seizures and panic attacks.

Using high-resolution mass spectrometry and mass defect filtering, the researchers analyzed the fractional masses of all components in each sample to determine if any of them were similar to that of JWH-018 (0.1858 dalton), a banned synthetic cannabinoid.

The researchers found that each of the samples contained at least one synthetic cannabinoid and some contained multiple types. Several were unexpected new compounds that would have been missed by traditional tests.

"The benefit to this approach over traditional targeted analyses is that it gives insight into the identities of components of an unknown sample," said Brian Thomas, Ph.D., senior director of Analytical Chemistry and Pharmaceutics at RTI and one of the paper's co-authors. "Additional tests must be run for confirmation, but the method provides valuable information about the compound's possible identity, and a starting place for selection of an appropriate reference standard."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by RTI International. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Megan Grabenauer, Wojciech L. Krol, Jenny L. Wiley, Brian F. Thomas. Analysis of Synthetic Cannabinoids Using High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry and Mass Defect Filtering: Implications for Nontargeted Screening of Designer Drugs. Analytical Chemistry, 2012; 84 (13): 5574 DOI: 10.1021/ac300509h

Cite This Page:

RTI International. "Advanced drug testing method detects 'spice' drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120712224551.htm>.
RTI International. (2012, July 12). Advanced drug testing method detects 'spice' drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120712224551.htm
RTI International. "Advanced drug testing method detects 'spice' drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120712224551.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins