Synthetic cannabinoids are structurally different from THC (the active component of cannabis) but act in similar ways to affect the cannabinoid system in the brain. We donít know much about the health effects of synthetic cannabinoids. There is a lack of research to report on the effects of synthetic cannabinoids.
Some reported effects of synthetic cannabinoids include:
* a similar effect to smoking cannabis
* fast and irregular heartbeat
* rapid pulse rate
* racing thoughts
* delayed reaction time
* dry mouth
* lowering of inhibitions
Health professionals and synthetic cannabis consumers have reported that negative effects of synthetic cannabinoids can include:
* rapid heart rate
* tachypnea (rapid breathing)
* heart palpitations
* racing thoughts
Negative symptoms generally last no longer than 3-4 hours, with no remaining adverse effects in most cases. Younger consumers are more at risk of negative side effects.
People with pre-existing mental health conditions appear to be particularly negatively affected by synthetic cannabinoids. Mixing drugs and alcohol with synthetic cannabinoids can create unwanted side effects.
Just like cigarettes, alcohol, cannabis and other drugs, taking synthetic cannabinoids every day can lead to dependence.
If you have any concerns about your own or another person's use of social tonics, the following contacts can help:
* Alcohol & Drug Helpline 0800 787 797
* Community Alcohol Drug Service (CADS) 09 845 1818 or 03 476 9760
* Lifeline 0800 543 354
Either talk to your doctor, who can file an incident report with the Centre for Adverse Reaction Monitoring, or call the National Poisons Centre on 0800 POISON (0800 764 766) or see www.poisons.co.nz. Tell them what you have taken including the brand name and any other substances including alcohol or medications.