Scientific studies using synthetic marijuana show that effects could be more dangerous
Scientists wanted to find out exactly what happens when someone consumes synthetic marijuana, also referred to as K2 and spice. There have been reports that it is more dangerous than the natural plant and could cause serious side effects, including seizures and psychosis. In order to get to the bottom of the debate, researchers in the Netherlands conducted a study and the results help clear the air.
Scientists sought participation by 17 healthy volunteers. They visited the lab twice, seven days apart, where they were given JWH-018, a synthetic cannabinoid, mixed with hemp or only hemp. The participants were not told which they were being administered during the test.
A fixed dose of synthetic marijuana was given to five of the subjects, with the dose varying based on the subject’s body weight. The other 12 received variable amounts. Following consumption, which was administered via inhalation, the subjects were monitored for 12 hours, with scientists checking vital signs, testing cognitive performance and receiving feedback from the participants.
Within the first hour, subjects’ heart rates increased and memory became impaired. However, the subjects reported greatly different reactions with regards to how they felt. Only 50% of the subjects reported feeling “high” and there was a great degree of variation in how much of the JWH-018 ended up in the participants’ bloodstreams.
In tests to measure reaction times, those who had been administered the synthetic marijuana performed worse than the other subjects. They also reported increased symptoms of amnesia, disassociation and confusion.
JWH-018 has been around for a while and is not as potent as some of the newer forms of synthetic marijuana that have been created. Ultimately, this means that the results could be even worse with some of the forms found today.