PubMed: Cannabidiol-Derived Cannabinoids: The Unregulated Designer Drug Market Following the 2018 Farm Bill

PubMed: Cannabidiol-Derived Cannabinoids: The Unregulated Designer Drug Market Following the 2018 Farm Bill

Med Cannabis Cannabinoids. 2024 Feb 13;7(1):10-18. doi: 10.1159/000536339. eCollection 2024 Jan-Dec.


BACKGROUND: In this review, we summarize current scientific knowledge on psychoactive cannabinoids synthesized from cannabidiol (CBD) and sold in the semi-legal market established in response to the passage of the US Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill. The discussion focuses on recent developments that suggest this unregulated market may be fertile ground for a potential health crisis.

SUMMARY: Current research into CBD-derived cannabinoids is mainly limited to Δ8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8-THC) products, with some recent publications beginning to explore O-acetyl-THC, a term describing the acetate ester of Δ8-THC or Δ9-THC, and its potential pulmonary toxicity. We advance the discussion on the CBD-derived cannabinoid market, shedding light on the introduction and associated dangers of novel cannabinoids, likely produced via fully synthetic routes using sidechain variants of CBD, with purportedly greater agonist activity at the human cannabinoid receptor 1 (as a source of euphorigenic activity) than Δ9-THC. We discuss the expanded incorporation of the acetate ester motif into other THC analogues. We also discuss the lack of regulatory oversight for the production of CBD-derived cannabinoids and the unlabeled presence of under-researched cannabinoids formed as reaction side products in the CBD-derived cannabinoid products being sold. Accordingly, we suggest approaches to monitoring the CBD-derived cannabinoid market and investigating the pharmacology of the cannabinoids being consumed. Finally, important epidemiological findings are discussed and future directions for research are suggested to call investigators to this critically understudied field.

KEY MESSAGES: The CBD-derived cannabinoid market is growing internationally, and the market has diversified to include potent synthetic cannabinoids. The products sold on this unregulated market are under-researched despite growing availability and consumer interest. Ernest investigation of the pharmacology of these novel cannabinoids and the contents of CBD-derived cannabinoid products is critical for monitoring this potential source of another vaping-related epidemic.

PMID:38352661 | PMC:PMC10864014 | DOI:10.1159/000536339 February 14, 2024 11:00 am