3 years ago

5F-Cumyl-PINACA in ‘e-liquids’ for electronic cigarettes: comprehensive characterization of a new type of synthetic cannabinoid in a trendy product including investigations on the in vitro and in vivo phase I metabolism of 5F-Cumyl-PINACA and its non-fluorinated analog Cumyl-PINACA

Verena Angerer, Florian Franz, Bjoern Moosmann, Philippe Bisel, Volker Auwärter



In recent years e-liquids used in electronic cigarettes have become an attractive alternative to smoking tobacco. A new trend is the use of e-liquids containing synthetic cannabinoids (SCs) instead of smoking cannabis or herbal mixtures laced with SCs. In the frame of a systematic monitoring of the online market of ‘legal high’ products, e-liquids from online retailers who also sell herbal blends were bought.


The products were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. In some of the e-liquids an unknown compound was detected which was identified as the SC 5F-Cumyl-PINACA (1-(5-fluoropentyl)-N-(2-phenylpropan-2-yl)-1H-indazole-3-carboxamide) by nuclear magnetic resonance analysis. To investigate the phase I metabolism of this new class of compounds, 5F-Cumyl-PINACA and its non-fluorinated analog Cumyl-PINACA were incubated with pooled human liver microsomes (pHLM). Cumyl-PINACA was additionally ingested orally (0.6 mg) by a volunteer in a controlled self-experiment. To assess the relative potency of Cumyl-PINACA a set of SCs were characterized using a cAMP assay.


Metabolism of 5F-Cumyl-PINACA and Cumyl-PINACA showed similarities with AM-2201 and JWH-018. The main metabolites were formed by hydroxylation at the N-pentyl side chain. The main metabolites detected in the volunteer’s urine sample were the same as in the pHLM assay. All SCs tested with the cAMP assay were full agonists at the CB1 receptor. Cumyl-PINACA was the most potent SC among the tested compounds and showed an EC50 value of 0.06 nM.


The increasing popularity of e-liquids particularly among young people, and the extreme potency of the added SCs, pose a serious threat to public health. To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the tentative identification of human in vivo metabolites of Cumyl-PINACA and 5F-Cumyl-PINACA.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11419-018-0451-8

DOI: 10.1007/s11419-018-0451-8

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