Don’t be fooled, synthetic cannabis is a man-made substance, designed to mimic the effects of cannabis. According to the Australian Drug Foundation, powdered chemicals are mixed with solvents and herbs and sold in colourful, branded packets. Chemicals used to make synthetic cannabis vary from batch to batch so you will never know what to expect. It began being sold online in 2004 and has since been available at adult stores and tobacconists. Synthetic cannabis is marketed under different brand names and is most commonly smoked. It has been known to be sometimes drunk as a tea. A number of similar products have been developed including Kronic, Northern Lights, Mojo, Lightning Gold, Lightning Red and Godfather.
Different packets can produce different effects, even if the name and branding on the package look the same.
Laws surrounding synthetic drugs – including synthetic cannabis – are complex, constantly changing and differ between states and territories, but in general they are increasingly becoming stronger. In Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia there is now a blanket ban on possessing or selling any substance that has a psychoactive effect other than alcohol, tobacco and food. In other states and territories in Australia, some synthetic substances used to make synthetic drugs are banned and more are regularly added to the banned list. This means that a drug that was legal to sell or possess today may be illegal tomorrow.
The psychological effects include:
- HIGH heart rate (120-150)
- HIGH blood pressure
- Chest pain
- (pos) acute kidney injury – ache in perinephric angle
- Tremors up to Seizures/Convulsions
The physiological effects include:
- Anxiety attacks
- Racing thoughts
- Hallucinations and paranoia
- Monsters demons aliens
- Suicidal thoughts and actions
- Psychosis at higher doses
- Aggressive/Violent behavior
- Subsequent drowsiness/confusion
Synthetic Cannabis is not just another type of marijuana. It is a synthetic drug that is extremely harmful. Here are some things to remember (or to discuss with your families/students):
- Cannabis has a VERY wide therapeutic index – no recorded cases of human fatal overdose directly attributable to THC; however, Numerous and growing number of reports of synthetic cannabis deaths.
- Synthetic cannabis is recorded to be 66 – 8oox more potent than THC.
- The physical and psychological effects are longer lasting than THC.
- Synthetic cannabis can induce severe psychosis at a highly often rate compared to THC.
- Synthetic cannabis is associated with a distinct withdrawal syndrome (even after short-term use. Effects can include insomnia, paranoia and panic attacks.
- Along with all the other side effects, kidney damage is now also linked with synthetic cannabis use.