"Synthetic Marijuana" Drug Test Now Available

Last month, we reported that drug tests capable of detecting "synthetic marijuana" use were being developed and were expected to be available by the end of this year.

Well, one laboratory moved faster. Yesterday, California-based Redwood Toxicology Laboratory (RTL) announced it now offers lab-based testing for so-called "fake pot" metabolites (if you need some background on "synthetic marijuana," check out the Buzz Buzz archives.)

According to the Redwood Toxicology Laboratory Web site, this new test identifies metabolites from synthetic cannabinoid compounds JWH-018 and JWH-073. The test is a urine test, and will reportedly detect metabolites from the JWH compounds up to 72 hours after they're ingested, depending on the dosage.

In a company press release, RTL scientific director Sumandeep Rana says, "Developing a urine test for JWH-018 and JWH-073 was very challenging. Since parent compounds are not usually found in urine, we had to identify the metabolites...If you only look for the parent drug in urine, you will have a lot of false negatives. The accuracy of this test could have a real impact on the drug testing industry."

RTL touts the test as "ideal for a number of criminal situations including drug courts, probation, and parole."

But before recreational JWH users get in an uproar about wide-scale JWH drug tests, it should be noted that although RTL is federally certified, it is a private company, and clients who want JWH urine tests have to pay for them (we called RTL for a price quote; as of this writing, we're still waiting for a response).

And since JWH compounds are still legal in Arizona (except on U.S. military bases), JWH drug tests aren't likely to be rampant in the state anytime soon.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea