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Drug Test Anal. 2012 Jun;4(6):409-14.

Phenazepam and cannabinomimetics sold as herbal highs in New Zealand.

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Department of Chemical Pathology, LabPlus, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand.


A smokeable product called Kronic, is legally available, sold under five product names, and marketed in New Zealand as containing natural extracts. Two such products called Pineapple Express and Purple Haze were purchased from shops in Auckland city. They were investigated for the presence of synthetic drugs specifically synthesized for recreational purposes. The synthetic cannabinomimetics identified were JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-122, JWH-250, and 1-pentyl-3-(4-methoxybenzoyl)indol. A compound not previously reported in such designer drug preparations 1-butyl-3-(4-methoxybenzoyl)indol was also seen. There was a marked variation in the content of these compounds within a named brand. The pharmaceutical benzodiazepine phenazepam (fenazepam) was identified as a constituent, along with certain cannabinominetics, in nearly all of the Kronic samples examined. Phenazepam has not previously been reported as a constituent of designer drug or herbal high products. The amount of phenazepam was approximately 1 mg per gram of Kronic leaf material. Use of these products could result in severe toxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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