Synthetic cannabinoids (SCs) are illegally made in laboratories across the US and widely found on the black market. While they act on the same brain cell receptors as THC (the mind-altering ingredient in marijuana), being man made SCs have chemical structures that don’t look anything like THC. Moreover, they are often far stronger, their effects are unpredictable and more likely to lead to overdose.
By the end of 2020, 1047 variations had appeared worldwide, said Deng. In China abuse of the drug has been particularly rampant in the Xinjiang region, where police have seized 16 kilos of the drug and arrested 390 suspects since 2018.
In April 2019 China added fetanyl-related substances to a list of controlled narcotics/drugs, after criticism from former U.S. President Donald Trump for allowing the synthetic opioid to be shipped to the United States.
Vaccine to counter the effects of synthetic cannabinoids
Meanwhile, in a study published in the American Chemical Society’s open access journal JACS Au, reported that Scripps Research scientists have developed a vaccine that was able to broadly counter the effects of synthetic cannabinoids in rodents. The vaccine achieved this by neutralizing the drug molecules before they could interact with their brain, offering great potential in treating addiction and overdose.
“SCs were successfully sequestered when administered by vaping or intraperitoneal injection, which was confirmed within animal models by observing locomotion, body temperature, and pharmacokinetics,” read the study Abstract.
Read Further: Reuters