Synthetic Cannabinoid Abuse and Potential Treatments | cannabisMD

Synthetic Cannabinoid Abuse and Potential Treatments

Synthetic Cannabinoid Abuse and Treatments

Cannabinoids are a group of chemicals derived from the cannabis plant (cannabis sativa). Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of these chemicals and research has shown that it has anti inflammatory properties to heal animals with nervous system disorders. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another one of these compounds that wields a psychoactive effect in animals. Cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) are found in the endogenous cannabinoid system and allow cannabinoids to bind and do their job in the body. The abuse of synthetic cannabinoids has become a public health problem over the past few years, yet little conclusions exist describing the use of synthetic cannabinoids, particularly in people with substance use disorder (SUD). This paper will look at the relationship between synthetic cannabinoid use with other substance use and demographic characteristics.

Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.

Main Points

  • Synthetic cannabinoids have psychoactive effect
  • Synthetic cannabinoid use frequent with SUD

Synthetic cannabinoids have psychoactive effect

Use of synthetic cannabinoids have come into the light recently. Poison Control Center data demonstrate increases in treatment for synthetic cannabinoids’ disastrous impacts from 2009-2011. Synthetic cannabinoids are smoked and supposedly give off cannabis-like effects, though little is actually known about their psychoactive and health impacts. Poison center and case reports show that synthetic cannabinoids give off massive health impacts, such as tachycardia, seizures, hallucinations, hypertension, nausea, kidney injury, and memory impairment; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More so, the toxicity can be more damaging than for naturally occurring cannabis. First seen as a legal alternative to cannabis, control of synthetic cannabinoids has recently increased and the most known are now classified as Schedule I Controlled Substances. Control of synthetic cannabinoids is disrupted by a lack of standardized lab tests for their constantly alternating composition and derivatives, which may involve classic cannabinoids or a range of other chemicals.

Synthetic cannabinoid use frequent with SUD

396 people completed self-report screening surveys about lifetime use of synthetic cannabinoid use, route of administration, and reasons for use. A total of 150 people reported using synthetic cannabinoids in their life, mostly by smoking. People chose numerous motives for use and the most commonly endorsed included curiosity, feeling great/getting high, relaxation, and getting stoned without having a positive drug test. Demographically, those who smoked synthetic cannabinoids were younger and a greater population were white. They had greater rates of other substance use and greater scores on measures of depression and psychiatric disorders. Lifetime synthetic cannabinoid use was relatively common in SUD people and many of those people who used it reported doing so because they thought it would not cause a positive drug test. Further research is needed to describe the extent of synthetic cannabinoid use among SUD treatment samples, and to establish understanding of the longitudinal trajectories of synthetic cannabinoid use in combination with other substance use, psychiatric distress, and treatment outcomes.

Jonathan Neilly
Jonathan Neilly
Jonathan Neilly is registered with the British Psychological Society, breaking the taboo on mental health issues is one of the driving forces in his life. His background in biomedicine gives him additional understanding of the factors that work together to influence the human condition.

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