Synthetic cannabis linked to extended psychosis

Case studies indicate the recreational use of synthetic cannabis may lead to psychosis that can last for days or months in some cases, according to a study at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting in Hawaii.

Researchers at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego followed ten patients hospitalized for psychosis apparently induced by the use of synthetic , commonly known as “Spice,” “K2,” “Blaze,” and “Red X Dawn.” These are plant material coated with varying combinations of synthetic cannabinoids, which act on the body in a similar way to chemicals found in cannabis. The compounds have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption and little is known about their safety.

The ten patients studied ranged in age from 21 to 25 years old and after use of “Spice” experienced ongoing psychotic symptoms, including auditory and visual hallucinations, paranoid delusions, odd or flat affect, thought blocking, disorganized speech, thoughts of suicide, insomnia, slowed reaction times, agitation and anxiety. Psychotic symptoms generally resolved between five and eight days after admission, but in some cases continued three months or longer.

The research was scheduled for presentation at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at the 164 the Annual Meeting, which runs May 14-18 at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu.


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Provided by American Psychiatric Association
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May 18, 2011
It's not synthetic cannabis! It's a synthetic cannabinoid, meaning a chemical that a) is like cannabis or b) operates on endocannabinoid pathways in the brain. What kind of terrible reporting is this? If I were your editor you'd be reprimanded or fired.

That said, it wouldn't surprise me if ACTUAL synthetic cannabis (i.e. dronabinol or Marinol) did in fact cause extended psychosis. Cannabis, the plant, is a complex mixture of around 60 other cannabinoid chemicals besides THC. There is a known limiting effect on THC by cannabidiol, another important chemical found in the buds of the plant, that can regulate how much THC is absorbed or metabolized.

I realize the current paradigm in science and medicine is to reduce things to their particulars, but you can't do that with cannabis. It's the complex interaction of all chemicals that produces the effects it produces.

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