Antidote to synthetic cannabis 'Spice' intoxication could be found in slimming drug

October 4, 2017, Queen Mary, University of London

Early research from Queen Mary University of London has potentially found an antidote that can rapidly stop the intoxicating effects of cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids.

Synthetic cannabinoids, such as 'Spice' and 'Black Mamba', are becoming an increasing problem, especially with youths game to experiment and within the homeless and prison populations, due to their cheapness and odourless properties. Their super strength compared to cannabis is leading to an increasing number of severe adverse reactions and an increasing number of deaths.

The study, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, looked at mice that were experiencing the effects of synthetic cannabinoid intoxication, to see the effects of treating them with a molecule known as AM251.

AM251 blocked the action of the synthetic cannabinoid on one of the and led to a loss of the cannabinoid-related behavioural effects within a few minutes. This included a significant loss of sedation within 20 minutes, and a loss of the associated hypothermia within 40 minutes.

The researchers say that the most rapid way to develop an antidote would be to re-develop one of the slimming drugs, known as rimonabant, which also blocks the system on which marijuana acts.

Explore further: Cannabinoids induce seizures by acting through the cannabinoid CB1 receptor

More information: Gareth Pryce et al, Antidote to cannabinoid intoxication: the CB1 receptor inverse agonist, AM251, reverses hypothermic effects of the CB1 receptor agonist, CB-13, in mice, British Journal of Pharmacology (2017). DOI: 10.1111/bph.13973

Related Stories

Cannabinoids induce seizures by acting through the cannabinoid CB1 receptor

September 21, 2017
Marijuana is the most commonly abused drug in the world, and the advent of synthetic cannabinoids creates additional challenges to society because of their higher potency and ability to escape drug detection screenings. Scientists ...

Increase in acute synthetic cannabinoid poisonings

July 15, 2016
(HealthDay)—Synthetic cannabinoids are sending increasing numbers of U.S. users to hospitals, according to research published in the July 15 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality ...

Genetic factors may contribute to adverse effects produced by synthetic cannabinoids

April 24, 2017
Synthetic cannabinoid abuse is a growing problem in the United States, with new versions of the drugs coming on the market every year. New research is examining how the body processes these man-made drugs and the role that ...

Synthetic cannabinoids versus natural marijuana—a comparison of expectations

April 27, 2016
An article entitled "Comparison of Outcome Expectancies for Synthetic Cannabinoids and Botanical Marijuana," from The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, studied the expected outcomes of both synthetic and natural ...

Canada should continue with separate medical stream after cannabis is legalized for recreational use

July 17, 2017
After cannabis is legalized, Canada should continue with a separate medical cannabis stream to keep patients safe, argues a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

Recommended for you

The complicated biology of garlic

April 26, 2018
Researchers today generally agree that eating garlic, used for thousands of years to treat human disease, can reduce the risk of developing certain kinds of cancers, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, ...

CRISPR-based diagnostic SHERLOCK optimized for rapid use during viral outbreaks

April 26, 2018
In a paper published today in Science, researchers at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard report a new tool that engineers the CRISPR-based diagnostic SHERLOCK for rapid outbreak response. The updates to SHERLOCK, which was ...

Too liberal use of oxygen increases risk of death in acutely ill adult patients

April 26, 2018
McMaster University researchers have found there is such a thing as too much oxygen for acutely ill adults.

Noninvasive brain tumor biopsy on the horizon

April 26, 2018
Taking a biopsy of a brain tumor is a complicated and invasive surgical process, but a team of researchers at Washington University in St. Louis is developing a way that allows them to detect tumor biomarkers through a simple ...

Lab-on-a-chip delivers critical immunity data for vulnerable populations

April 25, 2018
For millions of displaced people around the world—many of them refugees, living in temporary shelters under crowded conditions—an outbreak of disease is devastating. Each year, the measles virus kills more than 134,000 ...

Want new medicines? You need fundamental research

April 25, 2018
Would we be wise to prioritize "shovel-ready" science over curiosity-driven, fundamental research programs? Would that set the stage for the discovery of more new medicines over the long term?

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.