Synthetic Cannabis Linked To Mental Health Problems
Are you tempted to score some of that cheap pot from the street?
Here’s some news to make you think again: there’s a fair chance that when you don’t know what you’re buying off the street, you could be smoking synthetic pot. And if it isn’t going to kill you, it can contribute to mental health problems.
A new study from the Netherlands revealed that adults who frequently consume synthetic cannabis were more likely to suffer from mental health issues, particularly when compared to controls who consumed only genuine cannabis.
For the study, which was published in Psychopharmacology, European researchers analyzed consumers of real cannabis and illegal synthetic cannabinoids. They found that users of synthetic cannabinoids had a higher propensity for suffering from psychosis, paranoid ideation, obsessive-compulsive disorder, hostility, and anxiety.
They concluded that, “Our study demonstrates that there are significant mental health problems in this population of SC (synthetic cannabinoid) users, which could be a cause for concern for treatment and prevention professionals. Use of SCs is associated with a probability for mental health risks up to over five times greater than NC (natural cannabis) use, which is in line with previous results assembled in clinical and preclinical studies with SCs which showed a much more potent mechanism of action than NC.”
Scientists Confirm That Synthetic THC Is More Potent – And This Isn’t Good News
The first ever study of how the human body responds to synthetic cannabis has been concluded, as if the proof of so many deaths and hospitalization cases due to its consumption weren’t enough proof of how dangerous it is.
Scientists from the Netherlands and Germany worked together on a study to analyze the impact of “Spice” on experienced cannabis users, with experience being defined as using cannabis for at least a year, between 24-104 times throughout. They assessed 7 men and 10 women for the study, who were aged between 18-28; they were required to be in good health, of average weight, without drinking vices, not pregnant, and no history of psychiatric issues.
They tested a Spice variety called JWH-018 powder, which was obtained from THC Pharm, and they mixed it with an herbal blend called Knaster Hemp, and had the participants inhale it as they would normal cannabis. They were grouped based on varying dosages, after which the researchers gauged them based on how high they were as well as objective behaviors after inhaling. The researchers also assessed cognitive performance and vital signs.
When a group of the participants were asked for feedback, the researchers found that “dissociative symptoms such as feelings of amnesia, derealization, and depersonalization” were significantly higher in those who reported higher than average feelings of psychoactivity, which is not all that surprising.
The authors also acknowledge that there have been deaths due to synthetic drugs. If you’re looking for something stronger than the THC that you’re inhaling from natural cannabis, you’re much better off experimenting with dabbing and edibles than ever trying synthetic cannabis.
Synthetic Cannabis Is A Global Problem
It isn’t just the United States and Europe that are seeing a worrying increase in deaths linked to synthetic cannabis. New Zealand is seeing them too; based on a report by RadioNZ, the Coroner’s office has seen up to 60 deaths in 2 years due to synthetic cannabinoids.
To combat this, the Ministry of Health announced that they will be utilizing an early warning system which would collate information from health officials, the cops, and customs to find out where the drugs are from. The system is also designed to let people know about new types that are out in the market.
New Zealand has been suffering from this problem for a while now, with the Drug Foundation asking for this system as early as 2012. “That kind of information needs to be shared really quickly so that health officials and DHBs and other can plan quite localized responses to those problems,” says The Drug Foundations’ executive director, Ross Bell.
According to their research, there are 10 different kinds of synthetic cannabinoids being consumed throughout New Zealand, while some types are more common in specific regions. Meanwhile, scientists from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research identified 250 samples of it, which were seized by the authorities.
Kids – just say no to synthetic pot!