All You Need to Know About K2 Drug Testing
JWH018 is a synthetic cannabinoid that is widely associated with herbal blends products that are conveniently available on the Internet and in many head shops. Among the more popular brands of "herbal incense" products that are sold these days include K2, Spice Gold, Black Mamba, Spice, Spice Diamond, and Puff.
Because JWH018 is not a THC, detecting its presence in an individual's body is not possible with just any standard urine or saliva drug test. It is for this reason that some laboratories have engaged in further research to come up with a testing instrument that would finally determine the recent use of JWH018 using a specific specimen. By the latter part of 2010, there are two laboratories that claim to be able to detect JWH-018 and JWH-073 in urine, blood, and saliva specimens.
Redwood Toxicology Laboratory, Inc. (RTL) is one of the nation's premier forensic drug testing facilities that offers comprehensive, low-cost drug testing options. It's also one of the two laboratories that can detect JWH018 in urine. The other laboratory that claims to have developed a testing kit that can detect JWH-018 metabolites is MEDTOX Laboratories. Both laboratories provide helpful guidelines and explanatory notes on their website that help people understand how the drug test are administered and how early detection can potentially save your love ones from serious addictions.
JWH018 as Synthetic Cannabinoid
JWH018 is a compound that acts as a full agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Although it's created as THC, the side effects or symptoms that it produce is similar to the "high" effects given by marijuana.
In a 2009 interview by The Guardian with Dr. John Huffman, the Clemson University researcher who is behind the development of JWH018, the 77-year old professor of organic chemistry was quoted into saying that JWH-018 was "nothing special", Dr Huffman remembered, "but it was one of the more potent compounds we made, and it was quite easy to make from commercially available materials. Probably the reason it has now caught on."1
Dr. Huffman created JWH018 in 1990s while conducting experiments for a US research institute. Years after he invented the compound, JWH018 was being used in "herbal incense" products that are clearly labeled "not for human consumption." Yet, people -after discovering the "high" the products are able to produce - have started buying the products and smoking them or mixing them in food and/or drinks.
It didn't help that JWH018 do not show up in drug tests; thus making the products legal for people to acquire. It wasn't until the latter part of 2010 that many countries have began passing on legislations that ban the possession, selling, purchasing, and manufacturing of K2 Spice and other similar "herbal blends."
At present, there are a few available testing devices that detect the presence of JWH018 in urine, blood or saliva testing. The one with MEDTOX Laboratories require 10 ml of urine sample which may be collected randomly or on the spot. A positive result will be reported as "POSITIVE; Metabolite profile consistent with the use of JWH-018 and/or JWH-073 is present".
When it comes to detection times, JWH018 metabolites can be detected in urine up to 72 hours - depending on usage/dosage. The compounds are identified down to levels of approximately 0.1 ng/mL for most of the diagnostic metabolites. The test incorporates known reference standards for JWH-018 metabolites in addition to targeting metabolites that elucidated from known positive samples.
K2 Spice Associated with Addiction, Health Risks and Death
Although there isn't sufficient statistics that can validate whether or not K2 spice and other "herbal incense" products sprayed with JWH018 can lead to dependence, some experts believe that repeated exposure to these products can result to addiction. German researchers once reported the case of a 20-year-old man who had been using the Spice Gold product daily for eight months.
Not long after starting the product, the man found that he needed larger and larger doses to feel an effect. He quickly increased his use to 3 grams per day. The man felt a continuous need for the product. He was unable to get it for a period of time and experienced unrest, drug craving, nightmares, sweating, nausea, tremor, headache, high blood pressure, and racing heartbeat. This went away when he again began using the product.2
On the other hand, some hospital doctors in the US have expressed their concern over the possible link of K2 in heart damage. In 2010, Children's Medical Center in Dallas has treated two K2 cases that involve two male teenagers who complained of serious chest pains and heart palpitations. One of the boys suffered long-term heart damage. Dr. Colin Kane, a pediatric cardiologist who treated both cases said "We're theorizing that something in the K2 caused his coronary arteries to spasm, causing blockage of blood flow temporarily to his heart."
In a different case, K2 is being investigated in the death of 19-year-old Dominique Tate, who died Friday at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. The Dallas County medical examiner is awaiting toxicology results before determining the cause of Tate's death, but K2 might not show up since it isn't on drug screening tests. 3
There was also the case of a 28-year-old woman from Indiana who died from smoking a synthetic marijuana product. According to WXIN-TV in Indianapolis, the mother of two is dead after using a synthetic-marijuana laced incense known as "Spice." 4
From the standpoint of Jahan Marcu - cannabinoid researcher based at Temple University in Philadelphia - synthetic cannabinoid compounds shouldn't be used by people, whether by means of smoking or mixing them with their food or drinks. This because there are a lot of JWH compounds and JWH that are unique and very potent even at low doses.5