Drug Testing For Synthetic Cannabinoids

The past decade a new class of synthetic drugs have emerged. Most of these are synthetic and standard 5 panel drug tests can not detect these substances.

Spice Gold or K2 – Synthetic Marijuana (Cannabinoids)

Synthetic cannabinoids are substances that will bind to your body’s cannabinoid receptors. They create a high that is close to marijuana. More than a hundred different synthetic cannabinoids are now available.

The first one that came available around 2005 was under the brand name Spice. Since that time, many other brands have come to the market.  They are sold laced into plant or herbal based material, and then smoked like marijuana.

Brand names Synthetic Marijuana can be found under:

Spice,  K2, Spice Gold, Skunk, Pulse, Genie, Red X Dawn, Stinger, Black Mamba, and Yucatan Fire are just a few of the brand names that can be readily found in the synthetic cannabinoid market.

The majority of these consisted of the following five drugs: Cannabicyclohexanol, CP-47,497,  JWH-073,  JWH-200,  and JWH-018


The US Drug Enforcement Administration have added the above 5 substances to Schedule I of the controlled substance act. These five substances as of 2011 are illegal to sell, manufacture, posses, and import in the United States.


Laboratory testing of these synthetic cannabinoids shows that they have anywhere from 10 to 100 times the strength of marijuana. So there is definitely a good case made about the toxicity of these substances. Symptoms that occur with these, over using normal marijuana, is hallucinations, rapid heart rate, and high blood pressure.

Drug Testing for Synthetic Cannabinoids:

While a number of drug testing labs are creating protocols for testing these substances, there are no national or worldwide cut off detection levels set.

Each lab has it’s own way of validating detection of these substances, and will stand behind their results. But the question of breathing in second hand smoke is an issue. There are no appropriate cut off levels set for passive inhalation.

This means that if someone fails a drug test for synthetic cannabinoids, and claims it entered their body via second hand smoke, the lab could not refute that because these second hand cut off levels have not been established.

Marijuana does have second hand cut off levels established, due to the fact there is a history of extensive research on it. Since this research is not available for synthetic cannabinoids, the “I failed because of second hand smoke” from synthetic cannabinoids can not be dismissed by labs.