Synthetic Cannabinoids


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Synthetic Cannabinoids such as kratom are psychoactive designer drugs derived of natural herbs sprayed with synthetic chemicals that, when consumed, allegedly mimic the pleasurable effects of cannabinoids.

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  • Inhibition of GABA neurotransmitter – probable cause of convulsions and seizures
  • JWH-018 – Full CB1 Agonist - 3X affinity for CB2 than THCJWH-073 – Full CB1 Agonist - 5X affinity for CB2 than THCJWH-200 – 3X affinity for CB1 than THC (less sedative) - Analgesic
  • HU-210 – 8X THC – potent analgesicJWH-133 selective for CB2 receptor – 200X THC – devoid of psychoactive properties.All three prevents inflammation caused by amyloid proteins (plaques that build up in brain of Alzheimers patients)RimonabantRimonabant (SR141716) antiobesity drug – antagonist of CB1 receptor Selectivity of CB1 provided tool for examining endocannabinoid system and behavioral and physiological effects of THC. Possible use to mediate CB1 cannabinoidpharmacodynamics by blockade of cannabinoid agonistsDecrease in heart rate (BPM)reduced cannabis effects of 40-75% in single dose or multiple small dosingNo significant cannabis withdrawlNo clinical adverse effectsNIDA interested in pharacotherapy usageAssisted in smoking cessation therepyAddiction reduced cocaine-seeking responses by 2 of 3 most common triggers in relapse (priming and cues)Possible reduction of ethanol and opiate-seeking behaviorHypothetically could improve short-term memory (demonstrated in rats)Blocks psychoactive and cardiovascular effects of D9-Tetrathydrocannabinol (THC) without affecting the pharmocokinetics
  • Synthetic Cannabinoids

    1. 1. Spice, K2 and OtherSynthetic Cannabinoids17th National TASC Conference on Drugs & Crime Douglas Kramer – TASC, Inc. - Arizona
    2. 2. Herbal IncenseSold in head shops or onlineas an incense productHerbs and botanicalstreated with syntheticcannabinoid chemicalsMany varieties/scentsLabeled “Not for HumanConsumption”
    3. 3. Herbal IncenseVariety of Products AvailableSpice, K2, Smoke, Yucatan Fire, Hush, Genie
    4. 4. Single Use or Bulk ProductSold Loose or in joint form
    5. 5. Aromatic HerbsCanavalia maritima, Nymphaea caerulea, Scutellaria nana, Pedicularis densiflora, Leonotis leonurus, Zornia latifolia, Nelumbo nucifera , Leonurus sibiricus… many more.
    6. 6. Herbal Effects Most of the herbal components have very little psychoactive effects, although some traditional herbalists may disagree. At most, they: Add color and flavor May have mild relaxing properties Decrease blood pressure Reduce inflammation Induce mild euphoriaIf not from the herbs, where is the high coming from?
    7. 7. Drug DiscoveryIntense psychoactive properties were beingreported, but with little verification.In late 2008, forensic analyses conducted inEurope identified JWH-018 as a psychoactiveingredient in many of these products.JWH-018: synthetic cannabinoid synthesized in1995 for experimental purposes.
    8. 8. Laced productSpice-like herbal incense products are laced withpotent, potentially life-threatening SyntheticCannabinoids.User provided with no real knowledge as to what isin the product he/she is smoking.Synthetic ingredients are ever-changing to stayone step ahead of the law.
    9. 9. PrevalenceVery popular amongst individuals who are insubstance abuse program that requires drug testing40-60% positive rate in both adult and juvenilepopulations. As high as >90% in juvenile drugcourt populations oberved.Target individuals who are reported to exhibitmarijuana-like symptoms and behavior, but whofail to test positive for THC.
    10. 10. Cannabis OverviewUsed for more than 4000 years for euphoric andtherapeutic effectsMost commonly abused drug in the world. Roughly 4% of the worlds adult population (162 million people) use cannabis annually, and about 0.6% (22.5 million) use it on a daily basis
    11. 11. CannabisContains:>450 chemicals>60-90 different cannabinoids 9-Tetrathydrocannabinol (THC) Main psychoactive ingredient of marijuana
    12. 12. CannabisTHC content in marijuana varies – typically 2-5% in cannabis, but much higher has been foundMarijuana users may experience stimulant, depressant, and/or hallucinogenic propertiesMost commonly used for hallucinogenic effectsMost individuals self-titrate their THC intake
    13. 13. CannabisMost common Medicinal Uses: Relief from nausea and vomiting Stimulation of hunger General analgesic effects (pain reliever) Lowered intraocular eye pressure
    14. 14. What are Cannabinoids?Class of chemicals that have similar structure and/or activity that mimic: Phytocannabinoids (found in cannabis plants) • Natural, herbal, classical Endocannabinoids • (found in CNS and immune systems of animals)
    15. 15. Cannabinoid FunctionsWhat are the Endocannabinoid functions? Signaling molecules (Lipid messengers) that are released from cells to bind to nearby cell receptors. Signaling is retrograde (reverse direction postsynatic to presynaptic neurons)
    16. 16. Cannabinoid ReceptorsAt least two subtypes of Cannabinoid Receptors:CB1 Receptor Found throughout the peripheral and CNS systemsCB2 Receptor Found throughout the peripheral nervous system and associated with the immune system
    17. 17. At least two subtypes of Cannabinoid Receptors:
    18. 18. Synthetic CannabinoidsFour Groups of Synthetic Cannabinoids: THC Analogue (classical) Non-classical – Cyclohexylphenyl (CP) series Aminoalkylindoles – (JWH compounds) Other – Fatty Acid Amides
    19. 19. Synthetic Cannabinoid AgonistsMost are full CB1 & CB2 receptor agonistsOriginally investigated for medicinal purposes: Analgesics Weight management Control of Nausea Smoking cessation
    20. 20. Cannabinoid Agonists THC Analogues HU-210, HU-211, HU-243, HU-308, HU-320, HU-331, HU-336, HU-345 Raphael Mechoulam Hebrew University
    21. 21. Cannabinoid AgonistsCyclohexylphenyl (CP) Series Pfizer Pharmaceutical CP 47,497, CP 55,940, CP 47,497 – (C8), CP 50,556-1, CP 55,244
    22. 22. Cannabinoid AgonistsAminoalylindoles Over 470 analoguesJWH-015, JWH-018, JWH-019,JWH-073, JWH-081, JWH-122,JWH-133, JWH-147, JWH-171,JWH-210, JWH-250, JWH-398John W.Huffman Clemson University
    23. 23. Synthetic Cannabinoid Agonists JWH-018 JWH-073 CP 47,497 JWH-250Spice Gold 20 mg/g 11 mg/gSpice Diamond 17 0.07Spice Maxx 17 19Spice Silver 9 16Space 10K2 Blonde 12 13K2 Standard 9 9K2 Citron 10 10K2 Summit 11 9K2 Blue 15K2 Pink 11 14K2 Latte 16 0.28K2 Mint 19 0.30K2 Silver 8 16Herbal Blends 2-36 1-17 Table Data Compiled by NMS Labs
    24. 24. Adverse EffectsPhysiological Effects Raised blood pressure and heart rate Bloodshot eyes Swaying Psychological Effects  Anxiety, Agitation  Paranoia and Hallucinations  Seizures and convulsions  Short-term memory loss  Time dilation
    25. 25. Adverse EffectsJWH-018 Initial TrialsStatistically significant, dose-dependent, region-specificdecreases in cannabinoid binding observed in all brainregions examined following 4 and 14 days of treatment.The pattern of CB1 receptor down-regulation was similar tothat observed in adults treated with cannabinoids; however,the magnitude of down-regulation was smaller inadolescents.This reduced compensatory response in juveniles maycontribute to some acute behavioral effects, thepharmacological cross-tolerance and the long-lasting,adverse psychological consequences of cannabinoidexposure during adolescence.
    26. 26. A Case of Dependence20-year old patient reported that he had smoked "Spice Gold" daily for 8months.He developed tolerance and rapidly increased the dose to 3g per day.He felt a continuous desire for the drug and kept on using it despite thedevelopment of persistent cognitive impairment.Urinary drug screens were negative on admission to the hospital, as theywere again on discharge.On hospital days 4–7, he developed inner unrest, drug craving, nocturnalnightmares, profuse sweating, nausea, tremor, and headache.His blood pressure was elevated for two days, with a maximal value of 180/90mm Hg accompanied by a heart rate of 125/min.The patient stated that he had experienced a similar syndrome a few weeksearlier during a phase of abstinence owing to a short supply, and that it hadquickly subsided after he had started consuming "Spice" once again.
    27. 27. Federally Banned Cannabinoids (March 2010) JWH-018 9-THC JWH-073 CP-47,497 JWH-200 Cannabicyclohexanol
    28. 28. Detection Synthetic cannabinoids are not detected by traditional drug screening tests Detection period roughly 24-72 hours in urine • Only metabolites are detected in urine • Typically JWH metabolites analyzed due to availability of standards Approximately 12-48 hours in blood and oral fluid • Parent drug detected Advanced testing methodology utilized • Liquid Chromatography/Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)
    29. 29. Analysis by LC/MS/MS
    30. 30. Challenges Hundreds of potential compounds can be used in the manufacturing process of Spice products Limited number of banned chemicals on the books Moving target – Spice industry responds to the bans, Laboratories must respond in kind Lack of complete understanding of metabolism Lack of certified metabolite standards (getting better)
    31. 31. Promising Synthetic Cannabinoids 9-THC HU-210 WIN 55,212 JWH-133
    32. 32. Drug Development: Rimonabant(SR141716) Antiobesity drug Antagonist of CB1 receptor - Possible use to mediate CB1 cannabinoid pharmacodynamics by blockade of agonists• Decrease in heart rate (BPM)• Reduced cannabis effects of 40-75% in single dose or multiple small dosing• No significant cannabis withdrawl• No clinical adverse effects… on the short term
    33. 33. Rimonabant (cont’d)First CB1 Receptor antagonist on the market, used in conjunction withdiet and exercise for weight loss.Other Uses:• Assisted in smoking cessation therapy• Addiction reduced cocaine-seeking responses by 2 of 3 most common triggers in relapse (priming and cues)• Possible reduction of ethanol and opiate-seeking behavior• Hypothetically could improve short-term memory (successful in rats)• Blocks psychoactive and cardiovascular effects of THC without affecting the pharmocokineticsFDA supported its use for obesity in 2006 but never was brought to market afterfailure to demonstrate safety by the manufacturer.Benefits deemed no longer outweighing the risks – pulled in 2009
    34. 34. Bath Salts and Other Stimulants17th National TASC Conference on Drugs & Crime Douglas Kramer – TASC, Inc. - Arizona
    35. 35. Bath SaltsSold in head shops,gas stations and onlinePsychoactive / DissociativeIllegal in many statesHighly addictive and dangerousSnorted, but can be smoked, taken orally or injected
    36. 36. Bath Salts4MMC, Meow-meow, MC, MTV,M-CAT, Bounce, Plant Food$30-90 / gram - talc-likeUsually made in China / AsiaPixie Dust, Ivory Wave, Ocean,Charge Plus, White Lightning,White Girl, Scarface, HurricaneCharlie, Vanilla Sky, Bonzai,Grow, Blue Silk, Lovey Dovey
    37. 37. Bath Salt Effects Effects last 2 - 4 hours Feelings of euphoria - Increased alertness Dilated pupils Slurred speech, Inability to stop talking Increased heart rate Both decreased and/or increased sexual function/desire
    38. 38. Negative EffectsPhysical: CNS stimulant Increase BP and heart rate Chest pain, heart attack, stroke InfertilityPsychological: Delusions, paranoia, psychosis Personality disorders Depression when not using – as long as several weeksAfter effects such as tachycardia, hypertension, and mildstimulation lasting from 6 - 8 hours
    39. 39. Chemical CompositionMephedrone - 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC)AKA: Meph, drone, MCAT Originally developed in 1929 - recently “rediscovered” Analogue to other controlled substances Sold as plant food or bath salts – not for human consumption
    40. 40. Chemical CompositionMDPV (3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone)AKA: MDPK, Magic, Super Coke, MTV and PV Originally developed in the 60’s for chronic fatigue and appetite suppression. Abuse and dependence a problem with a compulsive desire to continuously re-dose Similar in structure to MDMA, but more of a stimulant Only has mild empathogenic or entactogenic properties
    41. 41. High Addiction Potential Abuse and dependence a problem with a compulsive desire to continuously re-dose Some are constantly chase that first high Mephedrone reduces to 4-methylephedrine - a known Cardiotoxic compound Crushing chest pain – common redosing the cause?
    42. 42. Other StimulantsCathinone Found in the shrub Catha edulis (Khat) Part of the Middle East culture Stimulant typically extracted from chewing fresh leaves
    43. 43. Other StimulantsMethcathinone First synthesized in 1928 It was used in the Soviet Union during the 1930s and 1940s as an anti-depressant. Since the 1960s, methcathinone has been used as a recreational drug in the (former) Soviet Union.
    44. 44. Stimulant StructuresMephedrone Methcathinone Cathinone MDPV MDMA
    45. 45. Detection Most compounds are not detected by drug screening tests Detection period roughly 24-72 hours in urine Analyte-specific methodologies are used • Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) • Liquid Chromatography/Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) Specialized Stimulants Panel should include: • Amphetamine / Methamphetamine • MDA / MDMA • Cathinone / Methcathinone • Mephedrone / MDPV
    46. 46. KratomMitragynine Krypton Sold for $5/gram – in bulk Powder, dry leaf, and resin forms “Bomb” ingestion – • Consume powder wrapped in tissue Dose 0.5-1.5 grams
    47. 47. KratomMitragynine Leaves of Kratom (mitragyna speciosa) – medicinal plant from Southwest Asia, a mu-receptor agonist Binds to mu-opiate receptors responsible for the enjoyable effects of the opiates, analgesia, and physical dependence. Low dose – stimulant effect; High dose – opioid-like sedative effect 2-3 hours – numbing effects / 6-8 hours – stimulant effect as the experience wears off
    48. 48. KratomMitragynine Risks High risk for accidental overdose Brain and lung edema, congestion of inner organs In reported deaths, other psychotropic drugs were found (Benzodiazepines, Effexor, Prozac)
    49. 49. Questions and Commentary
    50. 50. Thank You!Web Site: www.tascaz.orgDoug Kramer: (602) 257-7588 x189