Earlier this month there was widespread coverage of the tragic death of Damilola Olakanmi, following consumption of what was bought as a 'cannabis gummie', but what police reports indicate was actually infused with a synthetic cannabinoid. Media headlines, following the lead of the Met Police press release, unhelpfully implied the death was cannabis related - when the story details reveal this appears to be a poisoning death - synthetic cannabinoid mis-sold as a cannabis product. The tragedy highlights the risks implicit in unregulated illegal drug markets absent quality controls and vendor accountability - but also the challenges that synthetic cannabinoids raise as we move into an era of increasingly widespread cannabis regulation. Below is the section on synthetic cannabinoids from Transform's newly updated 3rd edition of 'How to Regulate Cannabis: A Practical Guide' available to buy for only 15 here, or read online for free.
Sophie began vaping what she believed to be THC E-liquid when she moved back home after university and wanted to continue smoking weed without her parents knowing. After vaping regularly with one of her friends, they started to notice that the high they were getting was typically much shorter than they were accustomed to when smoking weed. Gradually, her friend's use of the vape grew more frequent, which resulted in him \"freaking out\" and coughing up blood. They noted the symptoms and did some research online, which led to them suspecting that what they'd been vaping wasn't THC at all, but something markedly more malicious.
Matt is a finance intern who's been a member of his local UK Cannabis Social Club (UKCSC) for four years. He was dubious about the cannabis E-liquids he'd been buying, so sent them off to a Welsh organisation called WEDINOS, which anonymously tests new substances appearing in the drug market, and has become the go-to tester for THC E-liquids. Matt's results showed that his liquids didn't contain THC at all, but a synthetic cannabinoid. Matt says he can no longer trust any seller of THC vapes, preferring to make his own. \"It's sad to think how many will have purchased and used this stuff without testing,\" he says.
The reasons it's hard to discern weed from synthetic cannabinoid are numerous: E-liquids are almost invariably yellowish, and any flavour can be added to mask smells, making it near impossible to identify the drug with your eyes or your nose. Then there's the dubious provenance of the THC vape cartridges, which can be made to look like they've been manufactured by a reputable American company, but could have come from almost anywhere online.
Given that vaping cannabis seems to be a popular method of consumption among young British teens in particular, it's easy to see how someone's first experience with the drug could be with one of these tainted vapes. \"Many don't even realise it's some random cannabinoid,\" says Matt. \"A first-time user might just think that's how weed hits.\"
\"I actually have a Snapchat dealer who I called out for selling synthetic stuff,\" says Jack, who's worked in the E-cig industry for seven years, mostly in vape shops. \"But he said it makes money so he doesn't care.\" Though THC vapes are illegal in the UK, Jack claims most independent chains will \"sell under counter if you know the right person\". This allegation is a tricky one to fact check, but in Jack's experience at least, customers would come in almost every day asking for them, and his boss eventually decided to start stocking THC vape cartridges. When he also started stocking synthetic weed E-liquids, Jack quit.
There have been reports of dealers operating on Snapchat, openly labelling their vapes as Spice, and there's at least one online retailer that sells Spice-based vaping fluids. However, the demand for Spice products pales in significance to the demand for THC vapes, and Spice is much cheaper than extracted THC, meaning dealers and legitimate retailers stand to make a lot more money by labelling these products as THC and selling them to unknowing and often naïve customers.
Synthetic cannabinoids (also referred to as synthetic cannabis) are a new psychoactive substance (NPS) that was originally designed to mimic or produce similar effects to cannabis. It has been sold online since 2004.1
Spice was the earliest in a series of synthetic cannabinoid products sold in many European countries. Since then a number of similar products have been developed, such as Kronic, Northern Lights, K2 and Kaos.4
Both healthy and vulnerable individuals can experience psychosis after using synthetic cannabinoids.7, 12-14 And, compared to cannabis, the psychotic symptoms associated with synthetic cannabinoids are more severe and can last for weeks following last use.7, 14, 15
People who regularly use synthetic cannabinoids can quickly become dependent on the drug. They may feel they need synthetic cannabinoids to go about their normal activities like working, studying and socialising, or just to get through the day. They may also develop a tolerance to it, which means they need to take larger amounts of synthetic cannabinoids to get the same effect.
There used to be a fairly short list of natural plant-based drugs (like cannabis) and synthetic chemicals (like amphetamines) about which we had years of reports on effects, health harms and other related harms, like the impact on families and communities.
Because it can take time for surveillance to catch up with new drugs and their patterns of use, local authorities should look at their own sources of information to get a good picture of local issues. Each area will each have their own challenges, whether high rates of synthetic cannabinoid use among students or within certain groups, like men who have sex with men, injecting NPS.
I think we need to treat these drugs and the education of these drugs as the same as heroin and many other drugs ,but also emphasis the mental damage these drugs do in the short term such as what I saw in prison,lads slitting their wrists and arms coz they couldn't hack the effects.Also we need to say to users how would they feel if someone where selling them to their kids,grandkids.The psychological effects (long term)of these drugs will take a generation just like acid,weed,crack cocaine etc,.These head shop's should be banned and legalize low potent forms of cannabis to bring it from the ghetto and the gangs that are making millions from it,into the watchful eye of the government who can make money from it to spend on the NHS and other things in need in this country.
Chief Superintendent Stuart Bell, of the Met's East Area Basic Command Unit, said: \"I must warn the public against taking any illegal substances, including those packaged in the form of cannabis candies.
Police arrested a man on Friday in connection with the incident. They said he had a large quantity of cash on him and what were believed to be edible cannabis products. He was later charged with a number of suspected offenses, including possession with intent to supply Class B synthetic cannabinoid, being concerned in the supply of a synthetic cannabinoid, and possession with intent to supply a psychoactive substance.
Synthetic cannabinoids are human-made mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material so they can be smoked or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices. These products are also known as herbal or liquid incense. Learn about the health effects of synthetic cannabinoids and read the DrugFacts.
For over 120 years The Merck Index has been regarded as the most authoritative and reliable source of information on chemicals, drugs and biologicals. Now this trusted resource is available online from the Royal Society of Chemistry.
A: There is no data that specifies how long an individual should wait between cannabis use and blood donation. Please do not present to donate if your use of cannabis is impairing your memory or comprehension.
Policies about accepting whole blood, platelets or plasma donations from recreational synthetic marijuana consumers are currently set by each local blood center. Those policies vary depending on whether or not contaminants have been turning up in their areas.
This circular updates the previous Home Office Circular 021/2009 in respect of the synthetic cannabinoids. Methoxetamine and other related compounds are also subject to control as Class B drugs under Part II of that Schedule by way of a generic definition. O-desmethyltramadol is listed under its chemical name, to be subject to control as a Class B drug, in Part II of that Schedule.
Synthetic cannabinoids are harmful and dangerous NPS. A range of synthetic cannabinoids were first brought under control in December 2009 (see Home Office Circular 021/2009). The harms of the new synthetic cannabinoids have been assessed as broadly similar to those controlled since 2009 being controlled as Class B drugs.
Synthetic marijuana often contains a mixture of dried leaves from traditional herbal plants. They are various colors, including green, brown, blonde, and red, and often sold in small packets approximately two by three inches. The packets are often colorful foil packs or plastic zip bags. Some online sellers of legal fake weed products do so with disclaimers like \"not for human consumption.\"
In 2015, the DEA listed 15 varieties of synthetic marijuana as Schedule I controlled substances in the Drugs of Abuse resource guide. This places them in the same federal category as heroin, crack cocaine, and marijuana.
If you or a loved one has used synthetic marijuana and begin experiencing severe, unexplained bleeding or bruising, call 911 or asked a loved one to take you to the hospital immediately. These are all signs of contaminated cannabinoid products.
Adamowicz P, Gieron J, Gil D, Lechowicz W, Skulska A, Tokarczyk B. The effects of synthetic cannabinoid UR-144 on the human body-a review of 39 cases. Forensic Science International. 2017;273:e18-e21. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2017.02.031. 59ce067264