The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) hosted an Emerging Trends in Synthetic Drugs Workshop in 2013. A speaker compared JWH-018 with one of its isomers. The mass spectrum of JWH-018 (the 1’ naphtyl structure) was analyzed and compared to the 2’ naphtyl isomer of JWH-018.

The most significant difference between the two mass spectra was the peak at 324 amu (loss of 17). The analysis of two standards of these JWH isomers on the DiscovIR GC-IR system are also presented herein and show a dozen points of differentiation in the fingerprint region of the IR spectrum.

The DiscovIR-GC chromatogram of a multicomponent sample of contraband with a small amount of JWH-018 is also presented. JWH- 018 elutes at 21.9 minutes at approximately 290°C. The use of cryogenics enables the DiscovIR-GC to produce a high quality spectrum from 0.5 μg of JWH-018 in this challenging sample. The level of performance far exceeds tha capabilities of older light pipe technologies in terms of sensitivity, resolution, and the ability to run high temperature gradients.

Temperature gradients rampipng above 300°C are necessary to analyze many of the synthetic cannabinoids compounds which have been nabbed in recent years.


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