Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forensic Science



First Advisor or Mentor

Marta Concheiro-Guisan

Second Reader

Shu-Yuan Cheng

Third Advisor

Richard Curtis


Synthetic cannabinoids are man-made mind-alternating chemicals. Law enforcement and legislation have attempted to classify many of these synthetic cannabinoids as schedule I controlled substances, however, they are continuously being modified by dealers at the retail end of the distribution chain. Addiction and moderate use of illicit drugs have been identified as major reasons for non-adherence to antiretroviral therapy among HIV patients. However, there is no data regarding the impact of synthetic cannabinoid exposure in this population and how this affects their compliancy with taking antiretroviral therapy. A total of 72 authentic urine specimens were collected weekly from 13 individuals with HIV from Boom! Health Inc. (Bronx, New York City) over a 12-week period. We developed and validated an analytical method for the determination of 24 synthetic cannabinoids and metabolites in these urine samples. Out of 72 urine samples, 4 tested positive for AB-FUBINACA, UR-144 5-Pentanoic Acid, UR-144 4-Hydroxypentyl, 5-Fluoro-PB 22 and PB-22 at concentrations that ranged from 1.41-8.93 ng/mL. The urine samples were also screened by immunoassay (EMIT) and GC-MS. The most common drugs detected were THC, cocaine, opiates, more specifically methadone and JWH-033. A preliminary LC-MSMS screening for new synthetic cannabinoids tested mainly positive for THJ-2201, AM2201 and ADB-FUBINACA. For the future of this research, the impact of synthetic cannabinoids on antiretroviral therapy discontinuation will be explored comparing urine results with self-report, as well as the differences in biological matrices (urine and oral fluid) for monitoring synthetic cannabinoids and classic drugs of abuse.

Included in

Toxicology Commons



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