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The Determination and Evaluation of Pyrolytic Products: A Focus on Synthetic Cannabinoids

NCJ Number
Date Published
178 pages

The findings and methodology are presented for a study conducted to identify the pyrolytic products produced from the smoking process of selected representative synthetic cannabinoids, as well as to assess their presence in true case samples in establishing the necessity for inclusion in toxicological assessment.


The study used an optimized pyrolysis methodology in establishing a predictive model for thermal degradation. An extraction and LC/MS/MS method were validated according to the guidelines set by the Standard Practices for Method Validation in Forensic Toxicology. The first phase of the project developed a novel approach for mimicking a smoking process while using an exhaustive sample collection method for the pyrolysis of synthetic cannabinoids. The study identified numerous thermal degradation products for a representative group of synthetic cannabinoids, established a predictive model for forecasting thermal degradation products of cannabinoids not yet analyzed, validated an LC/MS/MS method for a collection of synthetic cannabinoids, and detected a number of thermal degradants within postmortem blood samples. The report advises that this project has demonstrated a proof-of-concept insight that opens discussion on the effect of thermal degradation products on the toxicological effects of synthetic cannabinoids. The findings indicate the need for continuing research investigations into the metabolism, binding activity, and toxicity of set products. The fields of forensic science, such as drug analysis, toxicology assays, and medicolegal investigations can benefit from these study results. Extensive tables and figures

Date Published: January 1, 2018