Ameritox Launches Critical, New Synthetic Marijuana Drug Test to Help Physicians Detect Rising Use of Dangerous Designer Drugs

October 26, 2012 / Ameritox

BALTIMORE. – October 3, 2012 – AmeritoxSM, the nation’s leader in medication monitoring solutions, today announced the launch of its newest test offering for synthetic cannabinoids (also known as “synthetic marijuana,” “K2,” or “Spice”), a class of designer drugs intended to mimic the effects of marijuana.  Adding to its portfolio of test offerings for designer drugs, which also includes a bath salts drug test (synthetic cathinones), Ameritox’s synthetic marijuana drug test now provides quantitative results for metabolites found in 15 synthetic cannabinoids that the Drug Enforcement Administration placed into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act this summer.

With reported side effects including paranoia, panic attacks, giddiness, and psychotic episodes, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that the number of calls related to synthetic marijuana and/or K2/Spice more than doubled from 2010 to 2011.

“With the rising abuse of designer drugs like synthetic cannabinoids, clinicians face an ever-increasing list of potential threats to their patients’ safety – and to society’s safety,” said Harry Leider, M.D., chief medical officer of Ameritox.  “Today, the ability to screen for newly developed, dangerous compounds like these synthetic cannabinoids is essential. Ameritox is committed to supporting physicians with advanced urine drug monitoring technology and insights to help clinicians enhance and optimize the care of chronic pain patients.”

Like other designer drugs, synthetic cannabinoids are a manufactured version of an illicit substance, created by chemists to bypass laws and provide a “legal high.”  Synthetic marijuana is a mixture of herbs and spices that is typically sprayed with a synthetic compound similar to THC, the active compound in marijuana – but can be four to 100 times more potent than THC.  According to the DEA, synthetic cannabinoids are sold under a variety of names, such as K2, Spice, Skunk, Black Mamba, and Bombay Blue. They are often marketed as herbal incense or herbal smoking blends and labeled “not for human consumption.”

Synthetic cannabinoids are available in head shops, tobacco stores, and over the Internet, and the U.S. government has mobilized to combat their rising abuse. In March 2011, the DEA placed five specific synthetic cannabinoids into the Schedule I section of the Controlled Substances Act, citing the move as “necessary to avoid imminent hazard to the public safety” due to high abuse potential and lack of medical use. The DEA expanded that list as part of the “Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012,” signed into law in July. The various branches of the U.S. military have also banned the use of synthetic cannabinoids.