Home > Adding more "spice" to the pot: a review of the chemistry and pharmacology of newly emerging heterocyclic synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists.

Alam, Ryan M and Keating, John J (2020) Adding more "spice" to the pot: a review of the chemistry and pharmacology of newly emerging heterocyclic synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists. Drug Testing and Analysis , 12 , (3) , pp. 297-315.

Synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs) first appeared on the international recreational drug market in the early 2000s in the form of SCRA-containing herbal blends. Due to the cannabimimetic effects associated with the consumption of SCRAs, they have acquired an ill-informed reputation for being cheap, safe, and legal alternatives to illicit cannabis. Possessing high potency and affinity for the human cannabinoid receptor subtype-1 (CB ) and -2 (CB ), it is now understood that the recreational use of SCRAs can have severe adverse health consequences.

The major public health problem arising from SCRA use has pressed legislators around the world to employ various control strategies to curb their recreational use. To circumvent legislative control measures, SCRA manufacturers have created a wide range of SCRA analogs that contain, more recently, previously unencountered azaindole, γ-carbolinone, or carbazole heterocyclic scaffolds. At present, little information is available regarding the chemical syntheses of these newly emerging classes of SCRA, from a clandestine perspective.

When compared with previous generations of indole- and indazole-type SCRAs, current research suggests that many of these heterocyclic SCRA analogs maintain high affinity and efficacy at both CB and CB but largely evade legislative control. This review highlights the importance of continued research in the field of SCRA chemistry and pharmacology, as recreational SCRA use remains a global public health issue and represents a serious control challenge for law enforcement agencies.


Item Type:Article
Date:March 2020
Page Range:pp. 297-315
Publisher:Wiley
Volume:12
Number:3
EndNote:View
Related URLs:
Subjects:B Substances > Cannabis product (synthetic cannabinoids)
G Health and disease > Substance use disorder > Drug use
L Social psychology and related concepts > Legal availability or accessibility
MM-MO Crime and law > Substance related offence > Drug offence > Illegal distribution of drugs (drug market / dealing)
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland

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