Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Murrell Godfrey

Second Advisor

Susan Pedigo

Third Advisor

Randy Wadkins

Relational Format



Marijuana and synthetic cannabinoids are the most commonly used and trafficked illicit drug. ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary active compound in marijuana. Synthetic cannabinoids were created as a method to study the effects of cannabinoids on the endocannabinoid system, which consists of endogenous cannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and the synthetic and degrading enzymes responsible for the synthesis and degradation of endocannabinoids. Cannabinoids activate the same receptors as endocannabinoids. Synthetic cannabinoids gained popularity as recreational drugs due to their ability to avoid detection. Synthetic cannabinoids have been found to have a greater binding affinity to the cannabinoid CB1 receptor than THC. They are also shown to have a greater affinity at the CB1 receptor than the CB2receptor. With the current legalization status of marijuana for both recreational and medicinal use, it is important to know the effects that these compounds can have on the body. The purpose of this experiment was to characterize the metabolites of THC and three other synthetic cannabinoids metabolized by human liver microsomes. The three synthetic cannabinoids chosed for this project are JWH-302, JWH-237, and mepirapim. These cannabinoids are all related to very popular synthetic cannabinoids. An AB SCIEX 3200 mass spectrometer (LC/MS/MS) in multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode with electrospray ionization (ESI) was used to characterize the metabolites. This is part of a bigger project that aims to use rat models to find the effects of THC and synthetic cannabinoids on the cardiovascular and renal systems.



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