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Forensic Sci Int. 2012 Jul 10;220(1-3):91-6. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2012.02.003. Epub 2012 Mar 8.

Detection and disposition of JWH-018 and JWH-073 in mice after exposure to "Magic Gold" smoke.

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Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298-1065, USA.


The disposition in mice of the cannabimimetics JWH-018 and JWH-073 in blood and brain following inhalation of the smoke from the herbal incense product (HIP) "Magic Gold" containing 3.6% JWH-018, 5.7% JWH-073 and less than 0.1% JWH-398 (w/w) is presented. Specimens were analyzed by HPLC/MS/MS. The validation of the method is also presented. Five C57BL6 mice were sacrificed 20 min after exposure to the smoke of 200 mg of "Magic Gold" and a second set of five exposed mice were sacrificed after 20 h. Twenty minutes after exposure to "Magic Gold" smoke, blood concentrations of JWH-018 ranged from 42 to 160 ng/mL (mean: 88 ng/mL ± 42) and those of JWH-073 ranged from 67 to 244 ng/mL (mean: 134 ng/mL ± 62). Brain concentrations 20 min after exposure to "Magic Gold" smoke for JWH-018 ranged from 225 to 453 ng/g (mean: 317 ng/g ± 81) and those of JWH-073 ranged from 412 to 873 ng/g (mean: 584 ng/g ± 163). Twenty hours after exposure to "Magic Gold" smoke, JWH-018 was detected and quantified in only two of the five blood samples. Blood concentrations of JWH-018 were 3.4 ng/mL and 9.4 ng/mL. JWH-073 was detected in only one blood specimen 20 h after exposure at 4.3 ng/mL. Brain concentrations 20 h post exposure for JWH-018 ranged from 7 to 32 ng/g (mean: 19 ng/g ± 9). JWH-073 was not detected in 20 h post exposure brain specimens. JWH-398 was not detected in any of the blood or brain samples. The disposition data presented with the limited data available from human experience provide reasonable expectations for forensic toxicologists in JWH-018 or JWH-073 cases. As with THC after smoking marijuana, blood and brain concentrations of JWH-018 and JWH-073 after HIP smoking can be expected to rise initially to readily detected values, and then drop dramatically over the next few hours to several ng/mL or ng/g, and finally to be at extremely low or undetectable concentrations by 24h apparently due to extensive biotransformation, and redistribution to body fat.

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