U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

The Unexpected Identification of the Cannabimimetic, 5F-ADB, and Dextromethrphan in Commercially Available Cannabidiol e-liquids

NCJ Number
Forensic Science International Volume: 294 Issue: 4 Dated: January 2019 Pages: E25-E27
Date Published
January 2019
3 pages

This study analyzed nine cannabidiol (CBD) e-liquids from a single manufacturer for cannabinoids and other psychoactive compounds, using Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry (DART-MS) and Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS).


Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) were developed as an alternative method for nicotine delivery and had a significant surge in popularity. E-liquids are formulations used in e-cigarettes, and consist of a ratio of propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG), a pharmaceutical and/or herbal remedy and, usually, a flavoring agent. The current analysis of these products detected CBD in all nine products and unexpectedly found 5-fluoro MDMB-PINACA (5F-ADB) in four of the products, as well as dextromethorphan (DXM) in one of the products. These findings illustrate the potential quality-control issues that can occur in an unregulated industry. CBD products are believed by many users to offer health benefits, but the detection of a dangerous cannabimimetic, 5F-ADB, and DXM in these products indicates the need for oversight. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019