Monday, June 23, 2014

How long is a drug detectable in the urine?

I get asked all the time about how long drug X is detectable in the urine of a person who consumed said drug (i.e. toxicology results interpretation is part of the day job).

                                                      Chemical structures of THC-carboxylic acid metabolite and PCP

Drug detection windows in urine are variable and approximate and ultimately depend on a myriad of factors including the nature of the drug consumed, the route of administration of drug, the individual's metabolism, the dosage of drug consumed, the dosage form of the drug consumed, and the hydration state of the individual.

So, here's a handy list for some routine drugs:

AnalyteTime Range
6-acetylmorphine12 - 24 hours
7-aminoclonazepam1 - 10 days
Acetaminophen1 - 2 days
Alprazolam and alphahydroxyalprazolam1 - 4 days
Amobarbital1 - 5 days
Amphetamine1 - 5 days
Benzoylecgonine1 - 4 days
Buprenorpine and norbuprenorphine1 - 10 days
Butabarbital1 - 5 days
Butalbital1 - 5 days
Carisoprodol1 - 2 days
Codeine1 - 4 days
Ethanol1 - 24 hours
Ethyl Glucuronide1 - 3 days
Fentanyl and norfentanyl1 - 4 days
Gabapentin1 - 4 days
Hydrocodone1 - 4 days
Hydromorphone1 - 4 days
Lorazepam1 - 4 days
MDMA1 - 5 days
Meprobamate1 - 4 days
Methadone and EDDP 1 - 10 days
Methamphetamine1 - 5 days
Morphine1 - 4 days
Nordiazepam1 - 10 days
Oxazepam1 - 10 days
Oxycodone1 - 4 days
Oxymorphone1 - 4 days
PCP1 - 8 days
Pentobarbital1 - 3 days
Phenobarbital1  - 30 days
Phentermine1 - 4 days
Pregabalin1 - 4 days
Propoxyphene and norpropoxyphene1 - 5 days
Secobarbital1 - 3 days
Tapentadol1 - 2 days
Temazepam1 - 10 days
THC-COOH (frequent user)1- 30 days
THC-COOH (occasional user)1 - 4 days
Tramadol and nortramadol1 - 4 days

It is important to remember that the urine matrix is a waste/excretory product. Drugs or drug metabolites detected in the urine are not exerting a pharmacological effect on the body. Also, there is no correlation between an ingested dose and the resulting urine concentration of drug/metabolite. If these are a concern, then blood analysis should be undertaken, but it should be noted that detection of drug or metabolite in the blood matrix is typically considerably shorter than the urine window of detection.



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

On chemophobia...

Today I was asked about my thoughts on people such as the Food Babe. Specifically, the Food Babe’s new endeavor that is centered on the ingredients in beer.  Mmmm….beer….give me a good stout any day of the week and I'm happy.

The problem with the Food Babe and people of her ilk is that she uses chemophobic hysteria. This hysteria ultimately inhibits real honest discussion around chemicals and their uses/roles in everyday life. She views "chemical" as a bad or negative word. She sees a long, complicated chemical name and assumes it's bad. She views chemical as the antithesis of natural.
As example of this chemophobia I saw a commercial on television for a cooling towel that said it contained "no chemicals". What was it made out of? Polyester. 100%. O.o Guess they don't under stand what polyesters are.
Yeah, polyester is a chemical...
Another example is propylene glycol. Ooohhh. It's in antifreeze. It's used as airpline deicing fluid! Scary! Oh wait, it has replaced the more toxic ethylene glycol in antifreeze as a relatively nontoxic constituent. It has other uses including as a solvent for pharmaceutical injectables and topical formulations.

Yes, another chemical...

But EVERYTHING in life is chemicals (cue Tim Minchin in this fabulous take on dichotomies and false assumptions). People, animals, plants, water, It's all made of chemicals. Nature is chemicals! Also people such as the Food Babe also always fail to mention (or even understand) that everything under the sun can be toxic or have specific adverse effects in the appropriate dosage and route of administration. An old adage in toxicology is "the dose makes the poison". It's simplistic but it is rather accurate.

Should food and beverage companies publish their ingredients list? Absolutely.
Should manufacturers be accountable for their products? Yes.
There are laws around all of this...and nowadays food is safer than it has ever been in the past.

Should we use manufactured media hysteria based on half-baked science (also known as pseudoscience or woo) to frame and facilitate our discussion on food ingredients, additives, and preservatives? Absolutely no.
We must have honest discussions with knowledgable people about the chemicals and their ultimate necessity in food manufacturing. If there is no need to use the specific chemical or if it isn't vital to the end product, then remove it. If it serves a specific need and is deemed safe by governing bodies, then use it or continue to use it.

I encourage discussion about chemicals and their role in life, but the discussion should be from an honest, open, intelligent, rational, and informed viewpoint, not from a chemophobic, naive, and hysterical perspective.

Just my one and a half cents.



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dr. Alexander Shulgin passes at 88 years of age

Dr. Alexander Shulgin passed away from hepatic cancer on June 2, 2014 at the age of 88.

He was a chemist...medicinal chemist...pharmacologist...psychopharmacologist...

Though, Shulgin was more than just a title. He was a brilliant human being.

I won't go into detail as others have written much more beautiful things than I ever could.

    Psychedelic Frontier wrote an excellent piece on Shulgin.

    Michael Power also wrote a great obituary piece over at the Guardian.

    Ethan Brown wrote a really nice piece at AlJazeera America.

Dr. Alexander Shulgin you may now be gone, but your legacy will never be forgotten.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Update on Synthetic Cannabinoid Illnesses in FL - May 2014

In an update to the previously reported outbreak of synthetic cannabinoid-related illnesses in Florida, it seems that two products have been implicated.

WUSF News states that the two implicated products are "Scooby Snax" and "Purple Flake".

Ahhh. Scooby Snax is a reoccuring product that I have tested several times over the last few years. Every few months it contained a different substance. AM-2201, JWH-210, UR-144, XLR11, 5F-PB-22, AB-PINACA, etc. To be honest, who knows what research chemical or chemicals are included in these products at these locales at this point in time.

Unknown chemical identification.
Unknown dosage.
Unknown pharmacological and toxicological profiles.

As Donald Rumsfeld once said:

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are thigns that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."