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Synthetic marijuana, made from chemicals sprayed onto plant material, can have a range of effects and is thought to be more dangerous than natural marijuana. The drug, which is sometimes referred to as K2 or spice, has been linked to serious side effects, such as seizures and psychosis.
But it's difficult to predict how synthetic marijuana will affect users, so a group of researchers in the Netherlands tested the substance's effects on 17 healthy volunteers in the lab. Their findings were published March 14 in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.
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Five of the participants were given a fixed dose of the synthetic marijuana, with the amount based on their body weight, and the remaining 12 received variable amounts.
Participants - Vapors - Compound - Researchers - Hours
After the participants inhaled the vapors of either compound, the researchers monitored them for 12 hours. During this time, the researchers took the people's vitals, tested their cognitive performance and had the participants periodically report how they were feeling.
Results showed that the synthetic cannabinoid increased heart rate within the first hour of smoking and significantly impaired memory. But there was a huge variation in how people reported feeling, with only about half of the participants reporting feeling "high." There was also a big variation in the amount of the substance that ended up in people's bloodstreams.
Way - Administration - Challenge - Lead - Study
"We think that's due to our way of administration, which was [in and of itself] a challenge," said lead study author Eef Theunissen, a researcher in neuropsychopharmacology at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
To administer the compounds, the researchers created their own glass pipe that heated up the substance, and the participants then inhaled the resulting vapor through an attached plastic piece. When the researchers analyzed the air tube after the study, they found that there was some...
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