JWH-073 is an analgesic chemical from the naphthoylindole family that acts as a partial agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. It is somewhat selective for the CB1 subtype, with affinity at this subtype approximately 5x the affinity at CB2. The abbreviation JWH stands for John W. Huffman, one of the inventors of the compound.
On 20 April 2009, JWH-073 was claimed by researchers at the University of Freiburg to have been found in a "fertiliser" product called "Forest Humus", along with another synthetic cannabinoid (C8)-CP 47,497. These claims were confirmed in July 2009 when tests of Spice product, seized after the legal ban on JWH-018 had gone into effect in Germany, were shown to contain the unregulated compound JWH-073 instead.
JWH-073 has been shown to produce behavioral effects very similar to THC in animals.
Its effects are produced by binding and acting as an agonist to the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. The CB1 receptor is found in the brain. JWH-073 bind to CB1 with a higher affinity than THC, suggesting that taking more too soon after the initial dose could lead to diminished effects. CB2 is found outside the brain, mostly in the immune system. The binding with CB2 receptors has been shown to be similar between JWH-073 and THC.
A search in the literature yielded no published studies of the effects of JWH-073 in humans, but these studies in animals suggest with high probability that JWH-073 produces effects very similar to those of THC in humans.
The 4'-methyl derivative of JWH-073 has been encountered as an ingredient of synthetic cannabis blends in Germany and several other European countries since 2010. The 4'-methoxy derivative JWH-080 is also known to be a potent cannabinoid agonist and has been banned in some countries, though it is unclear if it has also been used in synthetic cannabis smoking blends.
See also: JWH-018
The US DEA temporarily declared JWH-073 a schedule I controlled substance on 1 March 2011 through 76 FR 11075, and permanently instated the same schedule on 9 July 2012 in the Section 1152 of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act.
See also: JWH-018
On 8 July 2011 the AUS government banned the sale of JWH-073.
On 8 May 2014 the New Zealand government banned the sale of JWH-073.