Biomolecules & Therapeutics
Abuse Potential of Synthetic Cannabinoids: AM-1248, CB-13, and PB-22
Kwang-Hyun Hur1,†, Shi-Xun Ma1,†, Bo-Ram Lee1, Yong-Hyun Ko1, Jee-Yeon Seo1, Hye Won Ryu2, Hye Jin Kim2, Seolmin Yoon3, Yong-Sup Lee2, Seok-Yong Lee1 and Choon-Gon Jang1,*
1Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 16419,
2Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory, Department of Pharmacy & Department of Life and Nanopharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447,
3Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory, Department of Fundamental Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, Republic of Korea
Tel: +82-31-290-7780, Fax: +82-31-292-8800
The first two authors contributed equally to this work.
Received: November 25, 2020; Revised: February 17, 2021; Accepted: March 22, 2021; Published online: May 3, 2021.
© The Korean Society of Applied Pharmacology. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Currently, the expanding recreational use of synthetic cannabinoids (SCBs) threatens public health. SCBs produce psychoactive effects similar to those of tetrahydrocannabinol, the main component of cannabis, and additionally induce unexpected pharmacological side effects. SCBs are falsely advertised as legal and safe, but in reality, SCB abuse has been reported to cause acute intoxication and addictive disorders. However, because of the lack of scientific evidence to elucidate their dangerous pharmacological effects, SCBs are weakly regulated and continue to circulate in illegal drug markets. In the present study, the intravenous self-administration (IVSA) paradigm was used to evaluate the abuse potential of three SCBs (AM-1248, CB-13, and PB-22) in rats. All three SCBs maintained IVSA with a large number of infusions and active lever presses, demonstrating their reinforcing effects. The increase of active lever presses was particularly significant during the early IVSA sessions, indicating the reinforcementenhancing effects of the SCBs (AM-1248 and CB-13). The number of inactive lever presses was significantly higher in the SCB groups (AM-1248 and CB-13) than that in the vehicle group, indicating their impulsive effects. In summary, these results demonstrated that SCBs have distinct pharmacological properties and abuse potential.
Keywords: Synthetic cannabinoids, Abuse potential, Intravenous self-administration, AM-1248, CB-13, PB-22

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