Addiction Sameness

Alcohol, Opiates, Fat and Sugar are all Addictive Substances: this blog is about that "addiction sameness".

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What Is Synthetic Pot, and Why’s It Causing Heart Attacks in Teenagers? | 80beats | Discover Magazine


What Is Synthetic Pot, and Why’s It Causing Heart Attacks in Teenagers?

What’s The News: Three 16-year-old  teenage boys in Texas had heart attacks shortly after smoking a product called k2, or Spice, according to a study published this month in the journal Pediatrics. The report highlights a growing public health problem: the increased availability and use of synthetic cannabinoids, which when smoked mimic the effects of marijuana but typically can’t be detected in drug tests. While the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency secured an emergency, one-year ban of five synthetic cannabinoids in March of this year, most of the hundreds of such chemicals remain basically legal, widely available, little understood, and potentially harmful.
“Fake Pot” and Synthetic Cannabinoids:
  • “Fake pot” includes any of a number of products (with names like K2, Spice, Blaze, Red X Dawn) that are increasingly popular among young Americans. They usually contain herbs laced with various synthetic cannabinoids, and often marketed as incense.
  • Synthetic cannabinoids function similarly to marijuana’s prime ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC), which causes most of the plant’s well-known effects by partially activating cannabinoid receptors in the brain. (Described in some detail in an earlier post of mine here.)
  • Most of these chemicals bind much more strongly to CB-1 and CB-2 receptors than THC, causing more intense effects than cannabis. K2, for example, can cause intense anxiety, psychotic episodes, hallucinations, and even seizures. As pharmacologist David Kroll writes in an excellent post on his blog Terra Sigillata, THC is a “partial agonist” while many synthetic compounds are often “full agonists” at these receptors.
Chemicals Escape the Lab:
  • Many of the synthetic cannabinoids now used in K2 were developed in the mid-1990s as potential therapeutics by John W. Huffman, a Clemson University chemist. For that reason, many of these chemicals have names beginning with his initials, like JWH-018, one of the chemicals temporarily outlawed by the DEA in March. (Perhaps not the legacy he was aiming for.)
  • In 2008 the drugs were officially found outside the lab, in herbal blends sold in Europe, after which their availability and use spread widely.
  • Huffman has come out strongly against the casual use  and abuse of these chemicals. “Using these things is like playing Russian roulette because, we don’t have toxicity data, we don’t know the metabolites and we don’t know the pharmacokinetics,” Huffman said recently in Chemical and Engineering News.
Serious as a Heart Attack:
  • All three teenagers were seen at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas within three months of one another, after complaining of chest pain for several days. Myocardial infarctions were confirmed with EEG readings and the presence of troponin, a chemical released when heart muscles are damaged. Each was treated and released.
  • Though all three admitted to smoking marijuana in the previous few weeks, their use of K2 occurred just before symptoms of chest pain began. Two tested positive for THC; all tested negative for other drugs of abuse. Only one patient was tested for two synthetic cannabinoids, which weren’t detected. This is likely due to the widely varying blend of cannabinoids used in these products.
  • Very rarely, marijuana use has been linked to heart attacks, thought to arise from THC’s ability to increase heart rate and cardiac output.
  • K2 may cause an increased risk for a heart attack due to a stronger activation of this same pathway, or via another unknown route. Colin Kane, a pediatric cardiologist at UT Southwestern & Children’s Medical Center in Dallas told Reuters he was “certainly suspicious that there was something in the K2 that would have caused these heart attacks.”
  •  No chemical analysis was done on the products the teenagers smoked and is only described in the paper as, “K2, Spice (Dallas, Texas, manufacturer unknown).”
A Clear and Present Danger:
  • There are many reports on blogs and anecdotes from news stories nationwide that used of K2 or Spice has led young people to become mentally ill, become hospitalized, or commit suicide. Several deaths have been linked to synthetic cannabinoids; for example, a coroner’s report blamed JWH-018 (found in K2) for the sudden death of an apparently healthy 19-year-old basketball player in South Carolina.
  • From January through August this year, US Poison Control Centers received 4,421 calls regarding exposure to synthetic marijuana, a 52 percent increase over last year’s total.
  • In May the DEA outlawed five of these compounds. Many states around the country have enacted laws to ban the sale and possession of various synthetic cannabinoids. But the chemists who manufacture these chemicals know which substances can be tested for; by choosing different related compounds, of which there are hundreds, they can stay a few steps ahead of the law.
  • Though the DEA has the ability to prosecute people who manufacture chemicals that are “analogues” of currently banned substances, such action has rarely been taken, and it’s unclear what the exact chemical definition of an “analogue” is.
  • An opinion piece published this month in Nature Medicine argues that testing of these chemicals should be taken up by the Laboratory Response Network. This nationwide group of labs was set up by presidential decree to quickly provide data about novel chemicals associated with biological or chemical terrorism or other  ”high priority public health emergencies.” Study author Jeffery Moran notes that Arkansas legislators used the network to produce data to support a ban of various synthetic cannabinoids, and established a testing protocol for detecting K2 products now in use worldwide.
[Read more at Terra Sigillata]
Reference: Arshid Mir, MD, Adebisi Obafemi, MD, Amy Young, MD, Colin Kane, MD. Myocardial Infarction Associated With Use of the Synthetic Cannabinoid K2. Pediatrics. Published online November 7, 2011. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2010-3823
Image credit: U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency

What Is Synthetic Pot, and Why’s It Causing Heart Attacks in Teenagers? | 80beats | Discover Magazine


Spice from Big Pharma: Find out the Truth about Legal Marijuana

 NaturalNews) A new product is being sold in convenience stores, smoke shops, and other places around the country called "Spice" or "K2." It`s sold as an incense, but is considered a marijuana alternative to many - who smoke it as if it were cannabis. While it claims to be natural and made of only herbs, the concoction is actually a lot less than natural. These are synthetic compounds made in laboratories by Big Pharma to mimic THC.

These products have been on the market for some time in Europe, though they are now banned in several countries, but have only recently arrived in North America. They`ve been making headlines recently as various jurisdictions consider their legality.

So What`s Really in Spice/K2?
The packets sold all have ingredients lists that include many herbs such as Baybean or Siberian Motherwort (among others). These lists of ingredients, however, are not exhaustive; as anything not sold for human consumption is not required to list all ingredients. The active ingredient that gives the Spice its marijuana-like high is a synthetic THC. Most often, this is a compound called JWH-018, though in Germany many packets have used another called CP-47,497.

These are synthetic THC chemicals made in laboratories, originally, for use in cannabinoid receptor testing. JWH-018 is one of over a hundred synthetic THC compounds created by Clemson University organic chemist Professor John W. Huffman for use as an in-vitro (non-human/animal) reaction test for the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CP-47,497 was made in Europe by Pfizer for similar use.

CB1 and CB2 are receptors in the human body`s nervous system that respond to cannabinoids, both from marijuana and from those naturally made by most mammals. These receptors respond to types of THC in different ways. CB1 is where most psychoactive reactions are thought to take place while CB2 is believed to be where reactions to inflammation and pain reduction happen. Naturally-occurring cannabis plants generally affect both receptors about equally.

What Do These Synthetic THCs Do?
Users of the drugs usually report a high similar to that received when smoking marijuana purchased on the street. The high is not as long-lasting as the real thing, however, which prompts many to continue using it to prolong the effects. This is what likely leads to a buildup of negative reactions.

The trouble is that both JWH-018 and CP-47,497 were both created in the lab for use in laboratory testing; and nothing more. They have never been tested in humans and were never meant to be.

Many doctors are concerned and have seen patients in emergency rooms with various symptoms that would normally be attributed to a caffeine overdose or the use of psychoactive uppers like methamphetamine or cocaine. One doctor in Utah says that when school started, he began seeing patients who were adversely affected by Spice and K2. Symptoms include both over-stimulation (high heart rates, shallow breathing) and psychosis such as paranoia and hearing voices.

What NaturalNews Readers Should Note
The legality or the use of the drug aside, the real object of note for NaturalNews readers is that the active ingredients in Spice and K2, whatever the label says, are anything but natural. These are synthetic compounds made in laboratories by Big Pharma to mimic THC. They were never made or tested for human consumption.

Spice from Big Pharma: Find out the Truth about Legal Marijuana

Synthetic Weed

Before finding the following article, it was a mystery to me why people would seek out "fake" marijuana when there is availability of the real product.  

Many employers have instituted drug tests as a condition of employment.  It was discovered that the fake drug does not show up on such clinical tests. Thus, demand was stimulated...


What Is Synthetic Marijuana? 
Synthetic marijuana is an herbal and chemical product which mimics the effects of Marijuana. It contains chemicals called Cannabinoids that are made to mimic the action of 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the main psychoactive ingredient of Marijuana. They are powerful drugs that may cause severe side effects. In fact, New York State has just placed a statewide ban on the sales of synthetic marijuana.

Recently, it issued a warning of the dangers of the drug, which can be significantly more severe than natural marijuana. Many other states have begun to follow, most recently Michigan. Michigan Gov. Snyder signed a bill banning the use of and sale of Synthetic Marijuana. Several studies have found that synthetic marijuana is linked to serious side effects, which often require emergency room visits and medical intervention. Synthetic Marijuana has been shown to bring about “severe adverse reactions, including death and acute renal failure, and commonly cause: tachycardia (increased heart rate); paranoid behavior, agitation and irritability; nausea and vomiting; confusion; drowsiness; headache; hypertension; electrolyte abnormalities; seizures; and syncope (loss of consciousness).”

Synthetic Marijuana also goes by the names K2, Spice, Aroma, Earth Impact, Mr. Smiley, Mr. Nice Guy, Zohai, Eclipse, Black Mamba, Red X Dawn, Blaze, and Dream, among others. The products often carry the futile “not for human consumption” label. The synthetic form of Cannabis is often a mix of innocent-enough botanical products, like bay bean, blue lotus, rose, and vanilla, to which a toxic chemical like JWH-018 is added. The JWH-018 compound was first developed by the scientist John W. Huffman, who synthesized versions of TCH to study its effects in the lab.

Once it was discovered in Europe that the drug didn’t show up on most clinical tests, its popularity took off. 

Now, many countries in Europe ban the drug, but the U.S. has been slow to take action. It was only a month ago that the first five synthetic Cannabinoids became Schedule controlled substances. Synthetic Marijuana is more dangerous than the natural drug because the active ingredient binds more strongly to Cannabis receptors in the brain (CB1). For young people using it, the drug poses especially serious risks. 

This is because the adolescent brain is still developing, and continues to do so through the teen years, and likely beyond. Infusing a toxic chemical into the delicate developing network can lead to major disruptions in the ways in which nerve cells form patterns and connections. As several new case reports point out, more and more teens and young adults who use these substances are turning up in hospitals with signs of intoxication.

In the latest edition of the journal Pediatrics, physicians from Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. presented three case studies of teenagers who came to the emergency room after they each ingested fake Marijuana. Each teen suffered from a variety of serious adverse effects after they ingested these marijuana-mimicking substances. The authors described symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, excessive sweating and rigidity.

Two of them also became extremely agitated. All three survived and were eventually released from the hospital. "We became concerned about it after seeing these teenagers, and when we researched the literature, we realized there is very little out there about the effects of these compounds," said Dr. Joanna Cohen, lead author and associate professor of pediatric emergency medicine at Children's National Medical Center.

"We wanted to publish these case reports mostly because we wanted to share the information we had gathered to let the medical community know what we were seeing." Concerns Over Long-Term Effects According to data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 6,959 calls related to adverse effects associated with synthetic marijuana compounds in 2011, nearly 2.4 times the amount of calls in 2010.

Users of synthetic Cannabinoids may experience euphoria and other psychoactive effects similar to those of Marijuana, but there are also additional signs such as the increased heart rate, excessive sweating and agitation experienced by the teenagers. While the teens ultimately recovered, Cohen expressed concern over the potential long-term effects of these substances. "It's important for providers and parents to recognize the signs of drug use and to try and prevent repeat use," she said. "The effects on developing brains can be severe."

Synthetic Weed

Link to Source:

Synthetic Marijuna Fact Sheet

1. What is Synthetic Marijuana? Synthetic Marijuana is a man made drug that is not marijuana.

It was invented to act like marijuana; however, it is more powerful and more dangerous than marijuana.

This fake marijuana, often called Spice, K2 or Legal Phunk, is sprayed on real plant products, like leaves, and sold as incense or potpourri. It is usually smoked,but can be eaten too.

When used, it can be very dangerous. Other names for this include Lava Red, Aroma, Dream, Mr. Nice Guy, and many more.

Beware of name changes as they are changed often as is the chemical make‐up.

2. Where is K2/Spice (synthetic marijuana) sold?

K2/Spice can be bought very easily on the internet. They can also be found in head shops, smoke shops,convenience stores and some gas stations.

Government officials are trying to make them illegal, but as of yet, they remain legal.

3. Why is K2/Spice (synthetic marijuana) sold if they are drugs and harmful?

K2/Spice are sold in a way that outsmarts state and local regulations by stating on the package that they are “not for human consumption.” Because of this, it is very difficult to regulate and track. It is cheap, easy to purchase, sold as fake (synthetic) marijuana that doesn’t show up on standard drug tests.

4. How does K2/Spice (synthetic marijuana) affect you?

People who use K2/Spice or any other synthetic marijuana experience:

Fast heart rate Convulsions (seizures)

Seeing things (hallucinations) Weakness

Dry mouth Passing out (coma)
Death has resulted in some cases!

5. What happens to the people who use K2/Spice (synthetic marijuana)?

When people use K2/Spice (synthetic marijuana), they can have heart attacks, brain damage, kidney failure and scary hallucinations (seeing things) that last for many days.

6. Who uses K2/Spice (synthetic marijuana)?

K2/Spice (synthetic marijuana) are used by all people, regardless of age, gender, or status.

Bottom Line: 
K2/Spice (synthetic marijuana) 

A. It is very easy to get. 

B. It is very dangerous and can lead to heart attacks, brain damage, kidney failure and scary images/hallucinations.

For More Information

synthetic_marijuna_fact_sheet_public.pdf (application/pdf Object)


New York's One Step Closer To Making Fake Weed More Illegal Than Real Weed - New York - News - Runnin' Scared

"Spice" is one brand of synthetic marijuana that would be criminalized if a bill that just passed in the state Senate becomes law.

New York's One Step Closer To Making Fake Weed More Illegal Than Real Weed

The New York State Senate today passed a bill that would make the possession and sale of fake marijuana a crime in the Empire State -- which 

would make the possession of fake marijuana more illegal than possession of real marijuana.

Real marijuana was decriminalized in New York in 1977
(a marijuana possession ticket in New York is about as serious a violation as a parking ticket). 

"Fake pot has real health consequences, as do bath salts and other products that are aggressively being marketed to young people...," Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, says.

 "Several journal articles published in the last three months have detailed a wide range of psychiatric symptoms experienced by users including paranoia, hallucinations, delusions and extreme anxiety. 

Several other journal articles have detailed cases of convulsions, heart attacks and kidney failure in adolescents who, because these substances are legal, often mistakenly believe they are safe."

While fake weed being more illegal than real weed sounds pretty ridiculous, the effects of synthetic weed have proven to be more dangerous than those of the real stuff.

Synthetic weed is herbs sprayed with synthetic canabanoids. 

Some of the side effects include rapid heart rate, tremors, loss of consciousness and hallucinations. 

In a few cases -- smoking synthetic marijuana has been fatal. 

On the flip side, it's impossible to die from an overdose of real marijuana.


New York's One Step Closer To Making Fake Weed More Illegal Than Real Weed - New York - News - Runnin' Scared