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Marijuana-based Drugs: Innovative Therapeutics or Designer Drugs of Abuse?

By Kathryn A. Seely, Paul L. Prather, Laura P. James and Jeffery H. Moran


Marijuana has been used recreationally and medicinally for centuries. The principle psychoactive component, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), activates CB1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1Rs). CB1R agonists and antagonists could potentially treat a wide variety of diseases; unfortunately, therapeutic doses produce unacceptable psychiatric effects. “K2” or “Spice” (K2/Spice), an emerging drug of abuse, exhibits psychotropic actions via CB1R activation. Because of structural dissimilarity to Δ9-THC, these drugs are widely unregulated and touted as “legal” marijuana. This review summarizes current and future therapeutic uses of CB1R ligands and provides a historical perspective of the K2/Spice “phenomenon” so the reader can decide if marijuana-based drugs will truly provide innovative therapeutics or instead perpetuate drug abuse

Topics: Review
Publisher: American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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