- Written by: Francesco Nicoletta
- Category: Cannabis culture
Cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids, pay attention!
The advantage of self-production is that every grower has the possibility to use organic techniques and products in order to collect flowers of superior quality.
From the substrate and nutrients to the time of harvest, everything should be done in full respect of the environment and mother nature.
Index of sections
- Natural cannabinoids.
- Synthetic cannabis.
- Diffusion of the substance.
- Why this spread?
- Effects of the substance.
- Italian situation
But how many of you have ever heard of synthetic cannabinoids? Good, but not too much. We remind you that the basic principle behind the writing of the articles is precisely to inform our readers so that they can be aware and know the pros and cons when they find themselves having to choose whether or not to take a substance, which as we know the black market makes available to anyone, unregulated and cut drugs, potentially harmful to the human body.
Cannabinoids as we have come to know them are natural cannabinoids isolated from plant extracts of the cannabis genus. Over the years, despite the prohibition, some of the numerous active ingredients present within the most famous vegetable on the planet have been studied and identified and more than 100 different compounds have been discovered, all belonging to the same family and with noteworthy healing functions. and particular attention. Among the main natural cannabinoids we find:
- CBD – cannabidiolo;
- CBDV – cannabidivarina;
- CBC – cannabicromene;
- CBG – cannabigerolo;
CBN – cannabinolo;
- THC – tetraidrocannabinolo;
THCV – tetraidrocannabivarina.
In the normal development of the plant, all cannabinoids are synthesized in the trichomes, tiny waxy glandular growths found on the female flower of the plant. During the vegetative phase, CBG is produced almost exclusively, which is then transformed, in the flowering phase, into all other known cannabinoids. The only one that does not derive metabolically from CBG is CBN, formed exclusively by the degeneration of THC. The factors that can lead to this degeneration are exposure to heat sources, UV rays, oxidation or too much ripening of the flower. A different story, on the other hand, stands for synthetic cannabis.
Synthetic cannabis, also known as Spice or K2, is a blend of dried herbs to which psychoactive substances created in the laboratory are added, designed for the purpose of giving a cannabis-like effect. Despite the attempt to imitate the typical effects, synthetic cannabinoids appear to have totally different effects from those of pure cannabis and, like all synthetic drugs, are very dangerous. Spice apparently originated in the 1980s thanks to a cannabinoid stimulation experiment sponsored by the US government. In 1993, John Huffman researcher for Clemson University and for the government, published the formula for a compound called JWH-018, which is one of the many chemical formulas that the scientist was perfecting and collecting in a book called "The Cannabinoid Receptors ".
Huffman apparently did not intend to produce any of the new molecules he was studying. His book, however, did not only contain recipes for these types of compounds, but was useful in simplifying the process of making very powerful drugs that act on cannabinoid receptors. Although the scientist is not directly the father creator of K2, it seems to have been created on the basis of the illicit applications of his work, which studies have made it possible to reduce the production times of the substances indicated. The professor has therefore provided the perfect recipes to create an illegal substance from which to profit. JWH-018 is found to be an analgesic that interacts with both cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. It produces effects similar to THC in animals and humans, for this reason it has been widely used as an active ingredient in some of the most popular synthetic cannabis substitutes, currently sold all over the world in internet and in some smart shops.
Diffusion of the substance.
It should be noted that the human use of this compound, unlike natural cannabinoids, can lead to lethal consequences of the organism, as well as causing damage to the psyche and a strong psychological dependence. A few decades after the discovery of the active ingredient, a Spice epidemic has occurred in more than one country, until it assumed continental dimensions. In the UK, for example, this substance is believed to have a "devastating impact" on prison populations. In 2010, a few years before the opening of recreational markets in Colorado and Washington, stories of accidents and deaths due to the use of Spice increased.
In 2011, the number of calls to poisoning assistance centers reached 6,549. This figure was 112 cases in 2009. In that year the DEA published a complete list of synthetic cannabinoids and in this list three of the five compounds, all created by the same research professor at Clemson University., Are banned by the DEA:
The substance, although similar in appearance to cannabis, vaguely shares only some effects and precisely because of this similarity, it is sold on the black market in place of our beloved and forbidden plant. This dangerous product has spread widely in the western United States, in Great Britain where it takes the name of Black Mamba, to finally reach Germany and northern Europe. It is good to know that synthetic cannabinoids have long been present in the illegal trade, but some recent episodes in the States have brought the danger of this synthetic substance to common attention. In the New Haven Green area, not far from Yale University, Connecticut, 71 people were found overdosed by Spice ferrying six of them close to death. Synthetic cannabis carries a 30 times higher risk of serious side effects than classic natural drugs. The reason why such a product may be in great demand is probably due to the lower costs and the more concealable odor.
Why this spread?
We can imagine that one of the reasons why people use Spice derives mostly from the lack of adequate training and information on cannabis, we always want to emphasize that awareness in places related to the topic should be on the agenda. Many people use these substances because they think they are undetectable by drug tests, or because they believe that Spice is somehow "safer" than the real cannabis plant.
Citizens' lack of information to protect themselves from this social scourge is increasingly crucial, particularly in places like the United States where cannabis has been becoming legal for some years now. There is still no federal control and stereotypes with prejudices prevent people from knowing what cannabinoids actually are, what they do and how they work properly within our bodies. People come to approach K2 because they are desperate people or because they don't understand the damage this substance causes to health. And both of these reasons have the same matrix, which is the reason why the same natural cannabinoids have yet to be accepted and understood by the public.
The dried herb blend of Spice resembles classic cannabis but is imbued with psychoactive substances produced in the laboratory and allowed to be absorbed, with a very rough process, by the vegetable mixture included in the mix, consisting in turn of leaves and flowers that can have psychoactive effects mild and have been contaminated by mold, salmonella, pesticides or heavy metals. They try to pass synthetic cannabis as an organic product, but in reality, no synthetic grass production is completely natural.
Effects of the substance.
Herbs like Spice are treated with artificial cannabinoids or other laboratory chemicals. It originally contained a chemical called HU-210, which has a molecular structure very similar to THC. HU-210 is a synthetic cannabinoid developed in 1988 by the group of prof. Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A recent work published in the Journal Of Clinical Investigation shows that HU-210 stimulates the neurogenesis of the nerve cells of the hippocampus, exerting an anxiolytic and antidepressant effect. But this new compound is included in the "Schedule I - controlled substance" in the United States, which lists drugs and other substances with high potential for abuse alongside heroin and cocaine. The problem with these synthetic chemicals is therefore their toxicity. According to the American Drug Enforcement Administration, most chemical cannabinoids were made in Asia without controls or production regulations and then smuggled into the United States. The effects that these synthetic cannabinoids have on the body are encountered:
memory loss and paranoia.
Spice is a drug that is still too little known and, above all, difficult to distinguish from natural marijuana, but the consequences of which are significantly more dangerous. The risks associated with the use of synthetic cannabinoids are too high and aggressive. Don't forget that chemicals can be deadly in their own right. Any chemicals used in this process could be toxic once ingested or inhaled. Being an unauthorized product, the mixing processes can be inaccurate from time to time, making the effects unpredictable.
Unlike natural cannabinoids that counteract symptoms such as nausea, these can instead be the cause, can cause memory lapses and fainting, heart problems, psychosis, up to long-term renal failure. We also read about a peculiar phenomenon that is represented by "spiceophrenia", coined by the conjunction of spice and schizophrenia, that is a psychopathological syndrome characterized by delusions and hallucinations (similar to the classic manifestation of schizophrenia). The appearance of this condition is particularly associated with subjects who use synthetic rather than natural cannabinoids. The main cause of "spiceophrenia" was found in the absence of modulating compounds within spice drugs. This would involve a greater risk of developing psychosis even in subjects who do not have any predisposition or vulnerability. Furthermore, following the development of the disease, some studies show that the symptoms persist despite the fact that the substance is stopped.
It seems that Spice has also arrived on the Italian market, this is what can be defined by the Espad study, conducted as every year by researchers from the CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology. The epidemiological survey describes the scenarios and trends present among young people in our country regarding the use of drugs and the risky behaviors related to them. The latest available data, relating to 2016, have revealed that, after cannabis, one of the most popular drugs used by children is «Spice». As explained by Sabrina Molinaro, coordinator of the epidemiology and health promotion area of the institute of clinical physiology of the Cnr and coordinator of the study:
“Almost 275 thousand children have used it at least once in their life. Of these, one in three has done so at least ten times, if not more. The data is worrying, since the effects of the mix on health are not yet well known ».
Regarding the perception of risk, 31.1% of students consider it dangerous to use cannabis even only occasionally, while 40.4% consider it dangerous to use it regularly. It is the female students who show greater awareness than their peers, regardless of the frequency of use. Cannabis consumers tend to make exclusive use of it. Although there are those who associate it with cocaine (9%), stimulants (8%) and hallucinogenic substances (7%).
"Cannabis is confirmed as the most widespread illegal psychoactive substance - continues the expert -. Almost a third of teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 have used it at least once in their life. Of these, 25 percent, equal to almost 640 thousand adolescents, have used it in the last year. While almost ninety thousand boys smoke it every day ».
In the period of the Covid 19 pandemic, according to what was indicated by a monitoring from May to October 2020, the Higher Institute of Health found a general increase in the spread and use of narcotic substances and in particular the spread of two synthetic cannabinoids, the MDMB-4en-PINACA and the 4F-MDMB-PINACA. Like those listed above, they are born in the laboratory to produce the same effects as cannabis, but exceed them by 100 or 1000 times.
«The desired ones are the typical cannabis ones, such as a sense of pleasure and relaxation. However, unwanted ones are very dangerous. Acute poisoning leads to coma and death. The symptomatology that is found is of a psychiatric or physical type, with cardiocirculatory collapses or arrests ».
The only way to be sure of having cannabis of a certain quality is the self-production method. We wait in relaxation for the follow-up to the referendum which should lead to the legalization of cultivation for personal use, only then will we be free not to harm ourselves.