WH-073, a synthetic cannabinoid, is a member of the naphthoylindole family known for its analgesic properties. It functions as a partial agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, displaying a degree of selectivity for the CB1 subtype, with approximately 5 times the affinity for CB1 compared to CB2. The abbreviation “JWH” represents John W. Huffman, one of the pioneers in creating this compound.
On April 20, 2009, researchers at the University of Freiburg reported the discovery of JWH-073 in a “fertilizer” product called “Forest Humus,” alongside another synthetic cannabinoid (C8)-CP 47,497. Subsequently, in July 2009, tests conducted on Spice products following the legal ban on JWH-018 in Germany revealed the presence of the unregulated compound JWH-073 instead.
Studies have demonstrated the analgesic effects of cannabinoid ligands in various animal pain models, including neuropathic and nociceptive pain. These compounds mimic the body’s naturally produced endocannabinoid hormones, such as 2-arachidonoylglycerol and anandamide. These substances are biologically active and can either enhance or inhibit nerve signalling.
However, the exact causes of chronic pain conditions are not fully understood. Consequently, further research and development are needed to unlock the therapeutic potential of this class of biological compounds.


JWH-073 has been demonstrated to elicit effects in animals closely resembling those induced by THC.

These effects result from JWH-073’s interaction with and activation of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. The CB1 receptor, mainly located in the brain, exhibits a higher affinity for JWH-073 than THC. In contrast, the CB2 receptor, primarily found outside the brain in the immune system, displays a similar binding affinity for JWH-073 and THC.

Although no published human studies on the effects of JWH-073 were found in the literature, animal studies strongly suggest that JWH-073’s effects in humans closely resemble those of THC.


The 4′-methyl derivative of JWH-073 has been identified as an ingredient in synthetic cannabis blends in Germany and several other European countries since 2010.[8] Additionally, the 4′-methoxy derivative JWH-080 is a potent cannabinoid agonist and has been prohibited in certain countries, though its use in synthetic cannabis smoking blends remains unclear.

Legal Status

United States: JWH-073 was temporarily classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by the US DEA on March 1, 2011, as stated in 76 FR 11075. This classification was later permanently enacted on July 9, 2012, under Section 1152 of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act.

Australia: The Australian government prohibited the sale of JWH-073 on July 8, 2011. In Australia, JWH-073 is classified as a Schedule 9 banned substance under the Poisons Standard (October 2015). A Schedule 9 substance may be susceptible to abuse or misuse and is subject to legal prohibition, except when required for medical or scientific research or analytical, educational, or training purposes, with approval from Commonwealth and State or Territory Health Authorities.

New Zealand: On May 8, 2014, the New Zealand government banned the sale of JWH-073.

Turkey: The Turkish government banned the sale of JWH-073 on January 7, 2011.


  • What is JWH-073?
  • JWH-073 is a synthetic cannabinoid, which is a class of chemical compounds that mimic the effects of natural cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It is known for its partial agonist activity at the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors.
  • What are cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2?
  • CB1 and CB2 are receptors in the human body’s endocannabinoid system. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the brain, while CB2 receptors are found mainly in the immune system and other peripheral tissues. Activation of these receptors can lead to various physiological and psychoactive effects.
  • Is JWH-073 similar to THC?
  • Yes, JWH-073 has been shown to produce effects in animals that are similar to those of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive compound in natural cannabis. It binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors, producing effects like THC.
  • What is the origin of the abbreviation “JWH” in JWH-073?
  • The abbreviation “JWH” stands for John W. Huffman, one of the inventors of the compound.
  • Have there been any studies on the effects of JWH-073 in humans?
  • While there are no published studies specifically examining the effects of JWH-073 in humans, animal studies strongly suggest that its impact on humans would closely resemble those of THC.
  • What are some derivatives or related compounds of JWH-073?
  • One of the derivatives is the 4′-methyl derivative, which has been identified as an ingredient in synthetic cannabis blends in some European countries. Additionally, the 4′-methoxy product, JWH-080, is a potent cannabinoid agonist and has been banned in certain countries.
  • What is the legal status of JWH-073 in different countries?
  • United States: JWH-073 is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance.
  • Australia: It is considered a Schedule 9 prohibited substance.
  • New Zealand: The sale of JWH-073 is banned.
  • Turkey: The Turkish government has prohibited the sale of JWH-073.


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  4. Markuse P. “Forest Humus – Enthält synthetische Cannabinoide”. Pierre Markuse Blog (in German). Archived from the original on 23 July 2012.
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  6. Rani Sagar D, Burston JJ, Woodhams SG, Chapman V (December 2012). “Dynamic changes to the endocannabinoid system in models of chronic pain”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences. 367 (1607): 3300–11. doi:10.1098/rstb.2011.0390. PMC 3481532. PMID 23108548.
  7. “DEA Diversion Control Division”. Archived from the original on August 3, 2010. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
  8. “EMCDDA Annual Report 2010” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2011-10-02.
  9. “Schedules of Controlled Substances: Temporary Placement of Four Synthetic Cannabinoids Into Schedule I”. DEA Office of Diversion Control. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  10. “Final Decisions & Reasons for Decisions by Delegates of the Secretary to the Department of Health and Ageing” (PDF). Department of Health and Ageing. Australian Government. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 4, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  11. “Poisons Standard”. Federal Register of Legislation. Government of Australia. October 2015.
  12. “Synthetic cannabis › What they are”. NZ Drug Foundation. Archived from the original on 2015-09-21. Retrieved 2014-05-11.
  13. Turkish Drug Law

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