A total of six products containing legal highs were purchased via the internet from the UK- based retailers and screened for the presence of synthetic cannabinoids using a fast GC-MS method and identified, in the absence of reference materials, by comparing the mass spectra with the Scientific Working Group for the Analysis of Seized Drugs (SWGDRUG) mass spectral library. Four synthetic cannabinoids were detected: RCS-4, CP-47, 497, UR-144 and AM-2201. The active ingredient (1-(5-fluoropentyl)-3-(1-naphthoyl) indole), with the street name AM-2201, detected in the product named Doob was isolated and purified from the methanolic extract of the product using preparative HPLC with analytical column (column overloading method). The structure of the substance was confirmed using NMR. This approach used common analytical equipment found in forensic and other analytical laboratories (except for the NMR), therefore can be useful for the identification of unknown psychoactive substances in drugs of abuse.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.