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Synthetic cannabinoids are a group of drugs that contain a chemical substance that is similar to THC, the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis. They are often called “synthetic marijuana” or “fake weed.” The drugs are typically sprayed on plant material, then smoked to produce a high similar to that of cannabis. They can be in other forms such as liquids, tablets, and capsules. A synthetic cannabinoid called K2 has been seized in large quantities by the RCMP and sold on the street. They are very popular among drug users.
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HISTORY AND WARNING FROM FDA:
Synthetic cannabinoids have been around for decades but recently have been gaining popularity among recreational users and people who use them as self-medication for chronic pain and other ailments. In April, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a nationwide warning about the heightened danger associated with synthetic marijuana and its now-illegal analogs. The DEA warned that since some compounds in a synthetic pot are being sold as bath salts or plant food, people can’t always tell what they are buying. The agency has seen an increase in emergency room visits related to synthetic marijuana and a great number of synthetic pot-related deaths.
The synthetic cannabinoid market is estimated to be worth more than $1 billion worldwide.
MEDICAL USE OF SYNTHETIC CANNABINOIDS:
- Synthetic cannabinoids have been used for medical purposes for decades and have been found to be effective in treating a variety of conditions such as chronic pain, nausea, anxiety, and epilepsy.
- It is used as an alternative to marijuana but its use has been banned due to its addictive nature.
- Synthetic cannabinoids are known to cause a variety of side effects such as psychosis, anxiety, and depression.
DILEMMA WITH THESE DRUGS:
In recent years, synthetic cannabinoids have been linked to an increased number of emergency room visits and deaths caused by overdose. The substance has been marketed and sold as a legal alternative to marijuana because it produces similar effects, including a sense of euphoria, stimulation, and impaired memory. Synthetic cannabinoids are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and may be unsafe to use therapeutically.
HOW TO DEAL WITH DRUG OVERDOSE:
Synthetic cannabinoids can be highly addictive and potentially deadly if not treated properly. The effects of synthetic cannabinoids include anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, euphoria, and even suicidal thoughts.
- Call 911 or emergency services immediately if you suspect an overdose.
- Apply a tourniquet above the elbow and inject naloxone into the muscle of the person’s arm. If possible, have their airway maintained by another person.
- Naloxone is the antidote for synthetic cannabis. It can reverse an overdose caused by synthetic cannabis. Naloxone is not used to treat marijuana overdoses.
- Give him intravenous fluids as per his hydration status.
- Check him out for possible poisoning, and inform local police for parameter check.
- IV drug users mostly share syringes for their use so always be careful while treating them and avoid any prick.