Artificial grass: 5 information resources about synthetic cannabinoids
Keeping abreast of the ever changing drug market can be daunting. The phenomena of the so called ‘legal highs’ industry and the changing chemical compositions of such products is near on impossible. Synthetic cannabinoids, just one segment of this market has gained steady notoriety as consumers look for ways to get around drug testing regimes or look for alternatives to cannabis.
While many will mistake the term ‘legal high’ for safe, many others in the alcohol and other drugs sector have raised concerns about the lack of knowledge regarding the potential harms using these substances may entail. Complicating this is the ever changing chemical composition of such products as manufacturers attempt to stay ahead of legislative changes that make this weeks legal high, not so legal any more. With this in mind I thought it might be useful to share a collection of resources that a number of people/ organisations across the world have developed in regard to synthetic cannabinoids.
1. EMCDDA Synthetic cannabinoid interactive presentation
This handy tool is a great way of demonstrating the breadth of different compositions that may be contained within a synthetic cannabinoid product. All of these compounds target the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, just as natural cannabis does, however the interaction with the receptors and over all drug effect can differ greatly. You can check out the interactive tool at:
2. Synthetic cannabinoids: The Australian experience
Looking to find out more about synthetic cannabinoids in the Australian context? Check out NCPIC Bulletin 13 Synthetic cannabinoids: The Australian experience by Paul Dillon and Jan Copeland. This resource offers not only an overview of synthetic cannabinoids, but also provides an overview of the legislative responses to synthetic cannabinoids in Australia.
3. Kronic appeal: Patterns of synthetic cannabinoid use in Australia
Dr. Monica Barratt’s presentation of the first survey of Australian’s who have used synthetic cannabinoids assists to provide a clearer picture about who is using these products and how they are using them. The survey was the first of its type in Australia. You can view a slideshow of some of the findings of the survey at http://www.ydhf.org.au/data/Barratt%20-%20Kronic%20study.pdf
4. Drug Meter Minute – Synthetic cannabinoids
This series of YouTube videos by the crew at Drugs Meter on a range of alcohol and other drugs topics are a great resource, therefore I was very pleased to see that Dr Adam Winstock and Dr John Ramsay filmed a discussion about synthetic cannabinoids, their production and the potential risks.
5. Legal Highs in the UK
While not strictly speaking restricted to synthetic cannabinoids, Dr. Russell Newcombe’s presentation for the HIT Hot Topics seminar series, is none the less informative. Russell provides a great overview of legal highs, the legal context in which they are sold in the UK and some of the real potential harms associated with different legal restrictions.
Please feel free to suggest your own synthetic cannabinoid resources in the comments section below.