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Published Wednesday, 15th April 2015

Cannabis, also known as Marijuana, contains the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The presence of this compound in urine or oral fluid can easily be detected by a urine or saliva drug screen. In recent years however, synthetic substances with the brand names Kronic, K2 and Spice have become popular cannabis substitutes because they mimic the effects of cannabis when consumed, but cannot be detected in an instant urine or saliva drug screen.

A Drug and Alcohol Screen is performed when a biological sample such as blood, urine, saliva or breath is collected and analysed. 

Analysing a sample takes from a few seconds up to 5 minutes and will detect the presence or absence of drugs and alcohol, or their metabolites, in the sample collected.

Spice does not produce a positive result for cannabis on any instant drug screen, GC-MS testing or LC-MS testing.   However, metabolites of JWH-018 in urine can be reliably detected by GC–MS/MS and LC–MS/MS1 which means a positive report will be received if a urine sample is sent for confirmation testing.

Synthetic cannabis is often claimed to contain a mixture of traditionally used medicinal herbs resulting in a cannabis-like intoxication effect.

However, chemical analysis has found that many of the plant extracts are not present but instead, the cannabis-like effects are actually caused by synthetic cannabis compounds such as CP 47,497 (or cannabicyclohexanol), HU-210, JWH-018 and JWH-073.   Other non-cannabinoid ingredients have also been found in synthetic cannabis blends but they do not produce classical cannabis-like intoxication effects.

The use of synthetic cannabis has been known to worsen existing psychotic disorders and increase the risk of chronic psychosis among vulnerable individuals2.

As a result, governments around the world have either banned synthetic cannabinoids or banned the illegal sale or use of synthetic cannabinoids. In Australia, synthetic cannabis compounds are now illegal and may soon be included with the current list of drugs and their metabolites tested in a standard drug test.

KINNECT can conduct any of the following forms of drug and alcohol testing:

  • Instant Urine Drug Test
  • Instant Saliva Drug Test
  • Laboratory Urine Drug Test
  • Laboratory Saliva Drug Test
  • Instant Breath Alcohol

KINNECT perform both onsite and in clinic Drug and Alcohol Testing to the following standards:

  • AS/NZS 4308:2008 – Procedures for Specimen Collection and the Detection and Quantitation of Drugs of Abuse in Urine
  • AS/NZS 4760:2006 – Procedures for Specimen Collection and the Detection and Quantitation of Drugs in Oral Fluid

References

  1. Sobolevsky, T.; Prasolov, I.; Rodchenkov, G. (2010). Detection Of JWH-018 Metabolites In Smoking Mixture Post-administration Urine. Forensic Science International 200(1–3): 141–147. doi:1016/j.forsciint.2010.04.003
  2. Pierre, JM (Date?) Cannabis, Synthetic Cannabinoids, And Psychosis Risk: What The Evidence Says Current Psychiatry 10(9).

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