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October 2019 – Kuwait: Increase in number of synthetic cannabinoids identified in countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council

KUWAIT – October 2019: Between 2008 and 2017, 20 different new psychoactive substances (NPS) were reported to the UNODC Early Warning Advisory from countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council, including 10 synthetic cannabinoids. Recent information on synthetic cannabinoids seized and consumed in Kuwait in 2018 (Al-Matrouk et al., 2019) brings the total number of different NPS in the sub-region to 32, including 19 synthetic cannabinoids.

The study reviewed and analysed seizure cases from the Narcotic and Psychotropic Laboratory, Toxicology Laboratory and from the Forensic Medicine Department containing synthetic cannabinoids in Kuwait in 2018. This included 434 synthetic cannabinoid samples of seized material, 70 urine samples from suspected users and 6 urine specimens from deceased individuals.

The study revealed that the most frequently synthetic cannabinoids identified in the urine samples were 5F-ADB, FUB-AMB, and 5Cl-AKB-48 (see Figure 1). Moreover, combinations of two, three, or four types of synthetic cannabinoids were identified in the urine samples analysed, in addition to combinations of synthetic cannabinoids with other drugs including methamphetamine, tramadol, heroin, THC, and ketamine. The most common combination of synthetic cannabinoids in urine samples found by the researchers was FUB-AMB with 5F-ADB.

Figure 1: Number of cases of synthetic cannabinoids identified in urine samples in Kuwait, 2018

Note: The number of cases refers to different types of synthetic cannabinoids found in the urine of synthetic cannabinoid users.

Source: Al-Matrouk et al., 2019.


For more information, please see:

Al-Matrouk et al., 2019. Identification of synthetic cannabinoids that were seized, consumed, or associated with deaths in Kuwait in 2018 using GC–MS and LC–MS-MS analysis. Forensic Science International, Vol. 303.

UNODC, 2019. Current NPS Threats - Volume 1. Vienna, Austria.

UNODC, 2018. Global Smart Update 19 - Understanding the synthetic drug market: the NPS factor. Vienna, Austria.

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