Synthetic cannabinoids abused in South Korea: drug identifications by the National Forensic Service from 2009 to June 2013
- 798 Downloads
The rapid increase in the number of new psychoactive substances and their abuse is the most recent drug abuse issue worldwide. Although abuse of synthetic cannabinoids is highly restricted in South Korea, the rapid increase in the number of new substances is forcing the legal regulation authority to continuously improve the drug regulation act. As a result of drug screening by the National Forensic Service from 2009 to June 2013, 26 species of synthetic cannabinoids were identified in materials seized mainly by the Police Agency and the Prosecutor’s Office in South Korea. One of the most remarkable trends in synthetic cannabinoids is the increase in halogenated derivatives and new substances, including UR-144 and A-836,339 originally developed as analgesics by Abbott Laboratories. The N-pentyl fluorinated analog of UR-144 (XLR-11) has become the most frequently found synthetic cannabinoid in 2013 since its first appearance in 2012, whereas abuse of A-836,339 analogs has been little reported despite their abuse potential. Until early 2011, nicotine was the most frequently found active coingredient with synthetic cannabinoids. However, various psychoactive substances such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, α-pyrrolidinobutiophenone, α-pyrrolidinovalerothiophenone, and N,N-diallyl-5-methoxytryptamine have often been found as coingredients in herbal highs since late 2011. These coingredients should also be systematically regulated, because they can cause unexpected side effects. It is suggested that authorities in different countries share information about synthetic cannabinoids and their coingredients.
KeywordsNew psychoactive substance Synthetic cannabinoids XLR-11 Coingredients National Forensic Service South Korea
This study was supported by funding from the National R & D Program of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (2012-0009836) and the National Forensic Service of Korea.
Conflict of interest
There are no financial or other relations that could lead to a conflict of interest.
- 1.EMCDDA (2011) Annual report on the state of the drugs problem in Europe. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, LisbonGoogle Scholar
- 5.UNODC (2012) World drug report 2012. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, ViennaGoogle Scholar
- 8.Mauler F, Mittendorf J, Horváth E, De Vry J (2002) Characterization of the diarylether sulfonylester (−)-(R)-3-(2-hydroxymethylindanyl-4-oxy)phenyl-4,4,4-trifluoro-1-sulfonate (BAY 38-7271) as a potent cannabinoid receptor agonist with neuroprotective properties. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 302:359–368PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 9.EMCDDA (2009) Thematic papers: understanding the “spice” phenomenon. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, LisbonGoogle Scholar
- 21.Nakajima J, Takahashi M, Nonaka R, Seto T, Suzuki J, Yoshida M, Kanai C, Hamano T (2011) Identification and quantitation of a benzoylindole (2-methoxyphenyl)(1-pentyl-1H-indole-3-yl)methanone and a naphthoylindole 1-(5-fluoropentyl-1H-indol-3-yl)-(naphthalene-1-yl)methanone (AM-2201) found in illegal products obtained via the Internet and their cannabimimetic effects evaluated by in vitro [35S]GTPγS binding assays. Forensic Toxicol 29:132–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 22.Frost JM, Dart MJ, Tietje KR, Garrison TR, Grayson GK, Daza AV, El-Kouhen OF, Yao BB, Hsieh GC, Pai M, Zhu CZ, Chandran P, Meyer MD (2010) Indol-3-ylcycloalkyl ketones: effects of N1 substituted indole side chain variations on CB2 cannabinoid receptor activity. J Med Chem 53:295–315PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 23.Pace JM, Tietje K, Dart MJ, Meyer MD (2006) 3-Cycloalkylcarbonyl indoles as cannabinoid receptor ligands. Published in 2006-06-29, assigned to Abbott LaboratoriesGoogle Scholar
- 24.Yao BB, Hsieh G, Daza AV, Fan Y, Grayson GK, Garrison TR, El Kouhen O, Hooker BA, Pai M, Wensink EJ, Salyers AK, Chandran P, Zhu CZ, Zhong C, Ryther K, Gallagher ME, Chin CL, Tovcimak AE, Hradil VP, Fox GB, Dart MJ, Honore P, Meyer MD (2009) Characterization of a cannabinoid CB2 receptor-selective agonist, A-836339 [2,2,3,3-tetramethyl-cyclopropanecarboxylic acid [3-(2-methoxy-ethyl)-4,5-dimethyl-3H-thiazol-(2Z)-ylidene]-amide], using in vitro pharmacological assays, in vivo pain models, and pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 328:141–151PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 26.Shin MH (2012) Improvement of drug designation system–introduction of emergency procedure and analogue system (in Korean). J FDC Regulatory Sci 7:13–19Google Scholar