Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemistry (MS)

Degree Level



Chemistry & Biochemistry


Bill Durham

Committee Member

Wesley Stites

Second Committee Member

David Paul

Third Committee Member

Ingrid Fritsch


Pure sciences, Designer drugs, Presumptive tests, Spot tests, Synthetic cannabinoids


Synthetic cannabinoids (SC's) began to gain popularity around the world in 2009. Since then, many of the compounds have been outlawed and methods developed to detect them and their metabolites using mass spectrometry. Our work investigated the possibility of developing a colorimetric presumptive test. The SC JWH-019 was synthesized and its ketone targeted as a possible reaction site. Many SC's contain ketones and thus a reaction at this site would be applicable to many of the compounds. Since JWH-019 is costly and time consuming to synthesize, much of the experimental work was done using benzophenone (BP). BP contains a diaryl ketone making it comparable to JWH-019. Our initial work studied existing presumptive tests, one for SC's and one for cannabis. Both gave negative results for JWH-019. From there, we looked at synthesizing imines that might be colored. We studied reactions using dinitrophenylhydrazone, hydrazine, aniline and neutral red. Through these reactions it became apparent that the ketones on BP and JWH-019 were reluctant to react. Finally, we studied forming imines of BP with either ethylenediamine (en) or semicarbazide. The resulting product was then used to produce a metal complex. A complex formed between the en-BP product and Cu2+ provided a change in color, but the en-BP imine proved difficult to obtain and the results were not consistent.