Synthetic Marijuana

New substances of abuse – Spice

Eden Recovery Centre is a leader in information about new substances and what they might mean for South Africans who go to rehab.  The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction collects information about deaths and non-fatal intoxications.  The centre is run by specialised staff who focus on releasing complex information such as:

Subject: 2 deaths and 3 non-fatal intoxications in Germany associated with MDMB-CHMICA (methyl-2-(1-(cyclohexylmethyl)-1 H-indol-3-ylcarbonylamino)-3,3-dimethylbutanoate)

1) ‘7 non-fatal intoxications associated with ‘Bonzai citrus’ and/or ‘Bonzai Winter Boost’ products thought to contain MDMB-CHMICA’, issued on 12-12-2014. 2) ‘4 deaths and 6 non-fatal intoxications in Sweden associated with MDMB-CHMICA (methyl-2-(1-(cyclohexylmethyl)-1 H-indol-3-ylcarbonylamino)-3,3-dimethylbutanoate)’, issued on 19-12-2014.

Confused yet?  For the layman this simply means that a new synthetic cannabinoid has hit the European club scene.

But what does that mean for addicts and specifically marijuana substance abusers?  The team at Eden realises that there are many different implications.

“It is synthetic marijuana, some people call it “Spice” or “K2”. The effects produce a similar physical reaction to marijuana, however due to the unknown chemical compounds added to the substance, the effects can be deadly.”

There is a new drug that has made its way from the US to Europe in Sweden, Romania, the UK, Denmark, Croatia and France.  It is synthetic marijuana, some people call it “Spice” or “K2”. The effects produce a similar physical reaction to marijuana, however due to the unknown chemical compounds added to the substance, the effects can be deadly.  Chemical analysis shows that their active ingredients are synthetic (or designer) cannabinoid compounds.

Spice is made of dried and shredded plant materials that are coated with psychoactive chemicals. The dried plant and mind-altering substances that are used in each batch are variable and oftentimes unknown. Sold in many stores such as convenience or smoke shops, Spice is labeled with a statement indicating that it is not intended for human consumption. This label is placed in order to confuse the true purpose of the substance, as well as to avoid any regulation or oversight by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Spice causes an intoxication that is intended to be similar to marijuana. However, due to the unknown composition and potency of each batch, there have been many documented cases of users experiencing extreme adverse reactions.  The above news from the European Monitoring Centre highlights 6 recent deaths as well as 10 cases of intoxication recently discovered in Germany and Sweden.

“Natural product or deadly combination?”

Easy access and the misperception that Spice products are “natural” and therefore harmless have likely contributed to their popularity. Another selling point is that the chemicals used in Spice are not easily detected in standard drug tests.

 

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