Incense sold under the name “Spice”, which is currently legal, contains a potent synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist, JHW-018. Research into understanding the mode of action of JHW-018 will help researchers understand addiction and toxicity as well as provide evidence to allow the legal system to ban such products.
The active ingredient of “Spice”, i.e., JHW-018 is an aminoalkylindole and is metabolized by liver cytochrome P450, researchers at the University of Cologne, Germany, have found. Various metabolites have also been identified, which provide important clues as to the compound’s pharmacokinetics. JHW-018 is four times as potent as natural THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, from cannabis plants.
- In vitro phase I metabolism of the synthetic cannabimimetic JWH-018
A. Wintermeyer, I. Möller, M. Thevis, M. Jübner, J. Beike, M. A. Rothschild, K. Bender,
Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 2010, 398(5), 2141-2153.