JWH-018 (1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole) or AM-678 is an analgesic chemical from the naphthoylindole family that acts as a full agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, with some selectivity for CB2.
It produces effects in animals similar to those of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a cannabinoid naturally present in cannabis, leading to its use in synthetic cannabis products such as “legal cannabis herbal incense blends” which in some countries are sold legally as “incense”, labeled “not for human consumption.
Cannabinoids are commonly smoked or vaporized to achieve a quick onset of effects and rapid offset. JWH-018 is orally active when dissolved in a lipid, which can increase the duration significantly. Like other cannabinoids, it is insoluble in water but dissolves in ethanol and lipids.
Unlike cannabis, the chronic abuse of synthetic cannabinoids has been associated with multiple deaths and more dangerous side effects and toxicity in general. Therefore, it is very strongly discouraged to take this substance for extended periods of time or in excessive doses.
JWH-018, or Naphthalen-1-yl-(1-pentylindol-3-yl)methanone, is a synthetic cannabinoid containing a substituted indole structure. This indole core is shared with other cannabinoid substances including PB-22, 5F-PB-22, JWH-018, and AM2201. JWH-018 is substituted at R1 with a pentyl chain. Additionally, the indole core is substituted at R3 with a carbonyl group which is also bonded to a napthalene moeity. Napthalene is a bicyclic structure of two fused benzene rings. This carbonyl bridge of JWH-018 classifies it as a ketone. JWH-018 is an analog of THJ-018, in which the core indazole structure is substituted with an indole base.
AM-678 is a full agonist of both the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, with a reported binding affinity of 9.00 ± 5.00 nM at CB1 and 2.94 ± 2.65 nM at CB2. However, the role of these interactions and how it results in the cannabinoid high experience continues to remain elusive.