Redwood Toxicology Laboratory Announces Urine Test for Marijuana Mimics: Synthetic Cannabinoids JWH-018 and JWH-073 Metabolites

Redwood Toxicology Laboratory, Inc. (RTL) announced today it now offers lab-based testing for the detection of JWH-018 and JWH-073 metabolites in urine. JWH-018 and JWH-073 are the primary synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists responsible for the euphoric and psychoactive affects that imitate marijuana and are among the numerous compounds found in “herbal” incense or smoke blends.

RTL laboratory analysis confirmed JWH-018 and JWH-073 as the active ingredients in 27 herbal mixtures, and established test methods to identify the presence of their metabolites.

JWH-compounds bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and were initially developed as therapeutic agents for the treatment of pain. However, these psychoactive research chemicals are now being sprayed on herbal material and sold as “fake weed” or “synthetic marijuana.” Users looking for a “legal high” often turn to popular herbal smoking products marketed under brand names such as K2, K3, Spice, Genie, Smoke, Pot-pourri, Buzz, Pulse, Hush, Mystery, Earthquake, Ocean Blue, Stinger, Serenity and many others.

Today, herbal blends containing the JWH-compounds are banned in several states and by the U.S. armed forces. Legal restrictions on these compounds are likely to be imposed nationwide. Nevertheless, they are still readily available via the Internet and in many “head-shops” around the country. There have been many reports about the adverse effects of these chemicals including agitation, rapid heart rate, confusion, dizziness and nausea. In fact, the American Association of Poison Control Centers issued a warning about the dangers of synthetic marijuana products in March 2010.

“We have received numerous requests from our clients for a K2 and Spice drug test,” said Albert Berger, General Manager, RTL. “We are pleased that our laboratory research team was able to quickly develop an accurate test that met our clients needs and concerns. To our knowledge, RTL may be the only laboratory in the world to offer the metabolite test for these compounds.”

RTL’s test will utilize the most sophisticated, sensitive and specific equipment and technology available, LC/MS/MS (liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry) to confirm JWH-018 and JWH-073 metabolites. This test methodology provides the most definitive synthetic cannabinoid biomarker test results.

“Developing a urine test for JWH-018 and JWH-073 was very challenging,” said Sumandeep Rana, Scientific Director, RTL. “Since parent compounds are not usually found in urine, we had to identify the metabolites, and the detection method relies on monitoring multiple metabolites for each of these compounds. 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.”

Both Berger and Rana emphasized that the new RTL test panel is well suited for a variety of settings that have prevalent access to “fake marijuana.” The test will be ideal for a number of criminal situations including drug courts, probation and parole. It will also help limit teen drug abuse, workplace liability, and facilitate addiction treatment monitoring—all at a very attractive cost to administrators.

About Inverness Medical

By developing new capabilities in near-patient diagnosis, monitoring and health management, Inverness Medical Innovations enables individuals to take charge of improving their health and quality of life. A global leader in rapid point-of-care diagnostics, Inverness' products, as well as its new product development efforts, focus on infectious disease, cardiology, oncology, drugs of abuse, and women's health. Inverness is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. For additional information on Inverness Medical Innovations, please visit

About Redwood

Redwood Toxicology Laboratory, Inc., a subsidiary of Inverness Medical Innovations, Inc. (AMEX:IMA), is a federally certified drug-testing laboratory. RTL offers comprehensive, low-cost drug testing and delivers the certainty of science, the dependability of proven processes and the assurance of legally defensible results. Along with the Reditest® substance abuse screening devices, RTL offers complete drug screening solutions. For more information contact: Suzanne Bertolucci, 800-255-2159 ext. 4369.

Redwood Toxicology Laboratory™ and Reditest® are trademarks of the Inverness Medical group of companies.


Redwood Toxicology Laboratory, Inc.
Suzanne Bertolucci, 800-255-2159 ext. 4369

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