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[Synthetic cannabinoids–the new “legal high” drugs]

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  • PMID: 22352277

[Synthetic cannabinoids–the new “legal high” drugs]

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  • PMID: 22352277

Abstract

Recently, a new Law, named the “derivative law” (first addition, schedule drug change–2010), was accepted in the Israeli parliament. It will mean that dangerous substances that are closely related structurally to a drug that is listed in the dangerous drugs ordinance will automatically enter the dangerous drugs ordinance. The dangerous drugs that were sold in kiosks were related to 4 major groups: Amphetamines, methamphetamines, cathinone and methcathinone. Over 90% of the substances known as “legal highs” or “hagigat” belong to these groups. Before the law was accepted, merchandisers and clandestine Laboratories took advantage of a state in which every small molecular change in a controlled substance of amphetamines, methamphetamines, cathinone and methcathinone required a long legal process in order to include the new substance in the controlled substance law. During this process, we believe that public health was endangered. The chemists and merchandisers found a new solution to “legally” bypass the “derivative law”, by marketing a new group of substances named “synthetic cannabinoids”. The synthetic cannabinoids do not resemble the chemical structure of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC] which appears in marijuana or hashish, but affects the body in the same manner and according to the literature, are five times more potent. The synthetic cannabinoids are sold in Israel under different nicknames such as: “Mabsuton”, “Mr. Nice Guy”, “Spice”, “Sabbaba” and “Lemon Grass”. The substance can be used in different ways such as smoking, inhaling or swallowing. The use of synthetic cannabinoids causes side effects that include: euphoria, dizziness, headache, thirst, paranoia, insomnia, fatigue and disturbed vision. Cases of hospital admission in Israel due to the use of these substances have been reported. The symptoms included psychiatric disturbances. In an urgent meeting of the multi-ministry committee on psychotropic substances held in December 2010 in the Israel Anti-Drug Authority, it was decided to recommend to the Minister of Health to insert an inclusive group of “synthetic cannabinoids” into the control drug list in Israel. On April 5, 2011, after receiving the approval of the health and welfare committee in the Israeli parliament, the dangerous drugs ordinance (new version)–5732-1973 was amended with the addition of an inclusive group of “synthetic cannabinoids”. These include: JWH-018, JWH-133, JWH-073, CP 47, 497, CP 55, 940, HU-331, HU-210, HU-211, HU-250.

Recently, a new Law, named the "derivative law" (first addition, schedule drug change–2010), was accepted in the Israeli parliament. It will mean that dangerous substances that are closely related structurally to a drug that is listed in the dangerous drugs ordinance will automatically enter the da …

Synthetic Marijuana: What It Is And Why It Should Be Banned

New York has just placed a statewide ban on the sales of synthetic marijuana. Last week it issued a warning of the dangers of the drug, which can be significantly more severe than natural marijuana. Study after study has found that synthetic pot is linked to serious side effects, which often require emergency room visits and medical intervention.

According to NY State’s official order, synthetic pot has been shown to bring about “severe adverse reactions, including death and acute renal failure, and commonly cause: tachycardia (increased heart rate); paranoid behavior, agitation and irritability; nausea and vomiting; confusion; drowsiness; headache; hypertension; electrolyte abnormalities; seizures; and syncope (loss of consciousness).”

Synthetic pot also goes by the names K2, Spice, Aroma, Earth Impact, Mr. Smiley, Mr. Nice Guy, Zohai, Eclipse, Black Mamba, Red X Dawn, Blaze, and Dream, among others. The products often carry the futile “not for human consumption” label.

The synthetic form of cannabis is often a mix of innocent-enough botanical products, like bay bean, blue lotus, rose, and vanilla, to which a toxic chemical like JWH-018 is added. The JWH-018 compound was first developed by the scientist John W. Huffman, who synthesized versions of THC to study its effects in the lab.

Once it was discovered in Europe that the drug didn’t show up on most clinical tests, its popularity took off. Now, many countries in Europe ban the drug, but the U.S. has been slow to take action. It was only a month ago that the first five synthetic cannabinoids became Schedule 1 controlled substances.

Synthetic pot is more dangerous than the natural drug because the active ingredient binds more strongly to cannabis receptors in the brain (CB1). For young people using it, the drug poses especially serious risks. This is because the adolescent brain is still developing, and continues to do so through the teen years, and likely beyond. Infusing a toxic chemical into the delicate developing network can lead to major disruptions in the ways in which nerve cells form patterns and connections.

According to U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, New York “did the right thing enacting a state ban on this noxious product. We are working very hard to establish a federal ban so that kids seeking out these dangerous drugs can’t simply hop in a car and cross state borders to get a deadly high.”

Time will tell whether other states or federal government follow suit. It will also be interesting to watch whether increasing bans have any measureable affect on use of the drug, or emergency room visits.

Yesterday New York announced a statewide ban on synthetic pot, and calls for federal action to follow. ]]>