This is an emerging topic. We are lucky at PA4MMJ to wok with cannabinoid researcher Jahan Marcu.2/24/2010
Federal authorities in Philadelphia seized parcels of a new drug containing synthetic cannabinoids at a UPS shipping facility last week. Users seek a marijuana-like high with the ability to pass a standard drug test. Technically they are fully legal and with no current prohibitions. The various preparations of these chemical cannabinoid substitutes are sold as “Spice” or “K2.”
Recreational use of the substances has been growing in popularity. The name “Spice” comes from the Frank Herbert Dune series of books. The chemicals are spread on random plant material and packaged sometimes as fragrant, mood affecting incense. Compared to the ubiquitous natural marijuana market though, these synthetics are fairly uncommon.
The human body produces endogenous cannabinoids and the cannabis plant produces exogenous cannabinoids. We have a complex cannabinoid receptor system throughout our bodies. Marijuana contains a variety of unique cannabinoids that bind with these receptors. Synthetic cannabinoids have been created to study the receptor system in animals and humans.
Some of these compounds have been sold to the public and federal authorities seem to be cracking down on the newfound legal high. The Food and Drug Administration or FDA insists that sale for human consumption is not approved.
Last week the Philadelphia Inquirer reported
The confiscated materials are small, silvery plastic bags of dried leaves labeled with the brand name K2 and marketed as incense that can be smoked. In all, Customs and Border Protection in Philadelphia said, it has seized about four pounds of the potpourri-like stuff. READ MORE
The article also reports that on Jan. 6th a small shipment of the ingredient that is the main synthetic cannabinoid in these new drugs, JWH-018, was also seized in Philadelphia.
JWH-018 has been found in legally marketed products around the world lately. The Philadelphia NORML Examiner spoke with two leading cannabinoid experts to find out more.
Jahan Marcu recently published a landmark study highlighting the effect of pure cannabinoids on gliomas or brain cancers. Currently conducting research at Temple University he is one of the few cannabinoid scientists in America. He was familiar with Spice.
“There are a variety of cannabinoids… there are the classical plant cannabinoids that most of us are familiar with; they’re known as tri-cyclic cannabinoids like THC or Marinol. The JWH-018 is a very new compound, it was synthesized in 1998 and it belongs to an ‘indol’ family of cannabinoids. And these indol derivatives have been very powerful research tools in the last decade and have really advanced cannabinoid science. There are hundreds if not thousands of these synthesized cannabinoids.”
Somehow a few of those compounds made it from the labs onto the streets and not just in the US, but also around the world.
“When we see these things starting to appear in designer drugs or herbal [products] it is a concern because not much is known about these compounds. They are very new and are used to test receptor function.”READ MORE
at the Philadelphia NORML Examiner http://www.examiner.com/x-29881-Philadelphia-NORML-Examiner~y2010m2d24-Facts-about-new-synthetic-drugs-K2-or-Spice