24 February 2011


Behavioral pharmacology studies show that JWH-018 has Δ9-THC-like activity in animals. In mice, it decreases overall activity, produces analgesia, decreases body temperature and produces catalepsy. Together, these four effects are used by scientists to predict Δ9-THC-like psychoactivity in humans. JWH-018’s activity in all four tests suggests that it is likely to have THC-like psychoactive effects in humans.

In drug discrimination studies in rats, JWH-018 generalized to Δ9-THC, i.e. produced subjective effects similar to those of Δ9-THC.

In vitro studies show that JWH-018 binds to the brain cannabinoid receptor CB1 with higher affinity than Δ9-THC, suggesting that it would have the same effects as Δ9-THC in vivo.

Illicit Uses:

JWH-018 has been identified in numerous herbal products including “Spice”, “K2”, and other similar products which may be smoked for their psychoactive effects.

User Population:

The primary abusers are youth purchasing these substances from internet websites, gas stations, convenience stores, tobacco shops and head shops.

Illicit Distribution:

The System to Retrieve Drug Evidence (STRIDE) is a federal database for the seized drugs analyzed by DEA forensic laboratories and the National Forensic Laboratory System (NFLIS) is a system that collects drug analysis information from state and local forensic laboratories. These systems contain more than 500 reports of various synthetic cannabinoids in seized exhibits from over 20 states. In addition, there have been more than 1,500 reports about these drugs to Poison Control Centers nationwide as of September 2010.

Control Status:

JWH-018 is not currently controlled under the CSA. However, some of the synthetic cannabinoids and herbal products have been controlled in numerous states including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon and Tennessee.

Comments and additional information are welcomed by the Drug and Chemical Evaluation Section; Fax 202-353-1263, telephone 202-307-7183, or E-mail ODE@usdoj.gov.