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Identification of Eight Synthetic Cannabinoids, Including 5F-AKB48 in Seized Herbal Products Using DART-TOF-MS and LC-QTOF-MS as Nontargeted Screening Methods

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences 62(5): 1151-1158. Volume: 62 Issue: 5 Dated: 2017 Pages: 1151-1158
Date Published
8 pages

This article reports on a project that used non-targeted screening methods for the identification of eight synthetic cannabinoids.


Synthetic cannabinoids are sprayed onto plant material and smoked for their marijuana-like effects. Clandestine manufacturers modify synthetic cannabinoid structures by creating closely related analogs. Forensic laboratories are tasked with detection of these analog compounds, but targeted analytical methods are often thwarted by the structural modifications. The current project used direct analysis in real time coupled to accurate mass time of flight mass spectrometry (DARTTOF MS) in combination with liquid chromatography quadruple time of flight mass spectrometry (LCQTOFMS) as a screening and nontargeted confirmation method, respectively. Methanol extracts of herbal material were run using both methods. Spectral data from four different herbal products were evaluated by comparing fragmentation pattern, accurate mass and retention time to available reference standards. JWH018, JWH019, AM2201, JWH122, 5FAKB48, AKB48N(4entenyl) analog, UR144, and XLR11 were identified in the products. Results demonstrate that DARTTOFMS affords a useful approach for rapid screening of herbal products for the presence and identification of synthetic cannabinoids. (Publisher abstracts modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2017