MEDLINE Journals

    Prevalence of synthetic cannabinoids in U.S. athletes: initial findings.

    Heltsley R, Shelby MK, Crouch DJ, et al. 
    J Anal Toxicol 2012 Oct; 36(8) :588-93.

    A number of synthetic cannabinoids such as JWH-018 and JWH-073 have been incorporated into "spice" products. Despite having labels warning against human consumption, the products are smoked for their cannabinoid-like effects and the extent of their use by athletes has not been adequately described. Urine samples collected from 5,956 athletes were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry for the presence of JWH-018, JWH-073, and their metabolites. Metabolites of JWH-018 and/or JWH-073 were detected in 4.5% of the samples. Metabolites of JWH-018 and JWH-073, only JWH-018, and only JWH-073 were detected in 50%, 49%, and approximately 1% of positive samples, respectively. In total, JWH-018 metabolites were detected in 99% (50% + 49%) and JWH-073 metabolites were detected in approximately 50% (49% + 1%) of the positive samples. Parent JWH-018, JWH-018-2-OH-indole, and JWH-018-4-OH-indole were not detected in any of the samples. All samples in which JWH-073 metabolites were detected contained JWH-073-N-butanoic acid. Parent JWH-073 and its N-(4-OH-butyl), 4-OH-indole, 5-OH-indole, and 7-OH-indole metabolites were not detected. Given the number of synthetic cannabinoids that have been synthesized, their limited regulation, and the prevalence of JWH-018 and JWH-073 metabolites detected in the athletes, these compounds should remain a priority for anti-doping programs.

    Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
    Doping in Sports
    Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1
    Street Drugs
    Substance Abuse Detection
    Tandem Mass Spectrometry
    United States


    Pub Type(s)
    Journal Article
    PubMed ID


    Content Manager
    Related Content

    Screening for the synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 and its major metabolites in human doping controls.

    Identification of the major urinary metabolites in man of seven synthetic cannabinoids of the aminoalkylindole type present as adulterants in 'herbal mixtures' using LC-MS/MS techniques.

    High-throughput bioanalytical method for analysis of synthetic cannabinoid metabolites in urine using salting-out sample preparation and LC-MS/MS.

    Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis of urine specimens for K2 (JWH-018) metabolites.

    Monitoring of urinary metabolites of JWH-018 and JWH-073 in legal cases.

    Structure characterisation of urinary metabolites of the cannabimimetic JWH-018 using chemically synthesised reference material for the support of LC-MS/MS-based drug testing.

    Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry of JWH-018 metabolites in urine samples with direct comparison to analytical standards.

    Solid-phase extraction and quantitative measurement of omega and omega-1 metabolites of JWH-018 and JWH-073 in human urine.