All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Ellen Mwenesongole

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Forensic Science (MSFS) College of Arts and Sciences


Synthetic cannabinoids are synthetic compounds created to mimic the effects of naturally derived cannabis. They are up to 100 times more potent than natural cannabis, and due to their cannabinoid-like activity, they are considered schedule one drugs in Alabama. They are also the most common new psychoactive substance in the state of Alabama. The possible threat to public health and their schedule one status makes it necessary to develop a method for the detection of these substances. BZO-POXIZID and MDA-19 are two synthetic cannabinoids of recent interest. This study was conducted to validate a method for the detection of these two analytes using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The method validation was based on a standard operating procedure adopted by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences (ADFS). The parameters assessed were repeatability, limit of detection, interference, and simulated casework. Between-run precision was 0.10 or less for both analytes, showing low variability. The LOD was 20 μg /ml for BZO-POXIZID and 50 μg /ml for MDA-19. In the interference study, 13 of the 19 compounds tested were found to be interferents. For simulated casework, the analytes of interest were detectable in the presence of other synthetic cannabinoids. The study found that the method developed for the detection of the synthetic cannabinoids, MDA-19 and BZO-POXIZID, is sensitive, repeatable, specific, accurate, and precise.



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