Australian industry is currently concerned about the rise in the use of synthetic cannabinoids, particularly in areas such as mining and transport and other heavy industry. Synthetic cannabinoid (JWH-018, JWH-073 and JWH-250) “is a psychoactive herbal and chemical product which mimics the effects of cannabis when consumed.” It is popular in industries where drug testing is a component of safety and fitness for work strategies, because up until recently it has been undetectable in the testing methods used by organisations in Australia.
Professor John W. Huffman, an organic chemist from Clemson University and the first synthesizer of many of the synthetic cannabinoids now found on the market has stated clearly that he is “concerned that it could hurt people.” In 1984 he and a team of researchers began developing synthetic cannabinoid compounds to aid in the research and management of such conditions as MS, AIDs and other medical conditions. The research was initially funded by the US National Institute of Drug Abuse. By the late 2000’s this method and the ingredients used to make the synthetic compounds which Huffman published in a 1995 research paper inevitably found its way into the German and American drug subcultures and was manufactured and sprayed onto herbal and tobacco products to form what we now know as “Kronic, Spice, Genie or Purple Haze.” (The current nomenclature of the compounds with the well-known JWH prefix, are actually Professor Huffman’s initials.)
In America in the Midwest, Dr. Anthony Scalzo, Professor of Toxicology from St. Louis University, reported seeing 30 cases of teens experiencing adverse affects after using the substance. One of the concerns has been that the adverse reactions – increased agitation, elevated heart rate and also elevated blood pressure are not in keeping with standard cannabinoid effects, which in practice indicates the completely unknown nature and danger of these compounds.  These and other effects pose a significant safety risk in industries where use of heavy machinery and driving require clear and conscious faculties.
CMM Technology has been at the forefront of developing comprehensive testing procedures for synthetic cannabinoids here in Australia, and is now able to test for the compounds using both oral saliva and urinalysis processes. Mr. Tony Calder from the company has stressed that CMM Technology’s interest and involvement in synthetic cannabinoid detection is not recent. “We are not jumping on some bandwagon here,” stated Mr. Calder. “We’ve been pivotal in the push for proper Kronic drug testing. We have been researching and collecting data for over six months and we can now test for the parent compounds in saliva and the metabolites in urine.” He also stated the new Kronic Drug Test kit has been developed to fit in with existing programs. “Employers can integrate this kit into their present onsite random test programs without upheaval to the testing processes already in place.”
This is of major organisational and cost benefit to industries impacted by the proliferation of synthetic cannabinoids in the workplace. The kits contain all the technologies and accompanying documentations required for an Australian Standards aligned testing for the substance.
On June 3 2011, ABC Online reported Tasmania is now well on the way to implementing a total ban on the substances, and Western Australia may indeed soon follow. WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy Director, Damien Callachor says mining companies are now communicating to their staff that it is absolutely not acceptable on-site.
CMM Technology is uniquely positioned to aid you in the management and identification of synthetic cannabinoid use on your site or in your business or industry. Their comprehensive Kronic Drug Testing Kits also come with an inclusive rapid report service which notifies of positive tests as soon as possible so that your organisation can address the issue promptly and professionally.
For more information on CMM Technology’s testing technologies and the Kronic Drug Test Kits phone 618 9204 2500.
 Calder T., BDM, CMM Technology. Press Release 01/06/2011.
 ABC Online