What are Synthetic Cannabinoids?
Herbal blends, which are highly popular alternatives to illegal substances, are made of natural botanicals and often contain synthetic cannabinoids. When comparing marijuana with an herbal blend product, one will find that cannabis contains THC, which is a natural cannabinoid, while the legal counterpart does not. Because herbal blends contain synthetic cannabinoids, they are legal in various states in the US as well as other countries.
Synthetic cannabinoids are not the same active compound as natural THC and do not have the same chemical structure. Natural THC actually breaks down in a different way compared to synthetic cannabinoids. The most common of these synthetic cannabinoids are cannabicyclohexanol, JWH-018, JWH-073, and HU-210.
JWH-018 is considered to be the most popular one, which is used in the vast majority of legal herbal blends being sold on the market in the United States, Europe and Canada. Although synthetic cannabinoids are considered legal in various locations, a number of states in the US and countries across the globe are beginning to ban or regulate the sale, possession and consumption of herbal blends.
The Discovery of JWH-018
JWH-018 is an analogue of synthetic cannabinoids and was founded by John W. Huffman, an organic chemist from Clemson University. As mentioned above, JWH-018 is the most widely recognized form of synthetic cannabinoids and is used as an ingredient in legal herbal blends. The molecular structure of JWH-018 is unique and the active ingredient produces effects on the body that are similar to the effects of cannabis. For this reason, herbal blends that contain JWH-018 are used as legal alternatives to cannabis.
The Breakdown of Synthetic Cannabinoids
Every herbal blend produces different effects on the body that vary from one individual to another. The reason is because of the synthetic cannabinoid, which causes our bodies to react in different ways. The body has two cannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2. These receptors are found in different parts of the body. CB1 is found in the brain while CB2 is found in other parts such as bone marrow. Synthetic cannabinoids work differently with these receptors, but they have an affinity to both CB1 and CB2.
When comparing the synthetic compounds with natural THC, one will find that THC is a partial agonist to CB1 receptors while synthetic cannabinoids are full agonists. This means that synthetic cannabinoids can potentially produce stronger effects than THC does. Those who use legal herbal blends often find that these products are much stronger than cannabis and produce longer-lasting effects. In fact, the affinity of JWH-018 is 5 times greater than the affinity of THC. Not only do these synthetic cannabinoids have an effect on the body, but they can also have an effect on the mind.
Precautionary measures must be taken before using synthetic cannabinoid products. Although these herbal blends are legal in many places, an increasing number of states and countries are regulating the products if not banning them entirely. It is important to be familiar with these regulations and to only use products that are safe.