Made in clandestine laboratories and sold widely across the United States, the diverse class of drugs known as synthetic cannabinoids presents a growing public health threat.
In a new study, Scripps Research scientists have devised a way to deactivate these designer drugs after they’ve been administered—offering a potential path for treating addiction and overdose.
The research appears today in the American Chemical Society’s open access journal JACS Au, with findings from the laboratory of Kim Janda, Ph.D., the Ely R. Callaway, Jr. professor of chemistry at Scripps Research. Janda and his team developed a vaccine that was able to broadly counter the effects of synthetic cannabinoids in rodents, sequestering the drug molecules before they could interact with the central nervous system. Importantly, the approach worked in models that simulated smoking and vaping, which is how the drugs are most commonly used in real life.
“Synthetic cannabinoids are much more powerful…