One of the chief attractions of synthetic cannabinoids — which are, make no mistake about it, NOT “synthetic marijuana” or anything near it — has been that these substances don’t show up on conventional drug screening tests, which after all, aren’t designed to detect them. God knows they don’t have many attractions, and no stoner in his or her right mind would ever smoke these blends if real weed is available.
This has made “herbal blends” (which are actually vegetable matter sprayed with chemicals) popular in such settings as the military and jobs which are subject to piss tests. But even that advantage will probably soon be gone, leaving synthetic cannabinoids the sole province of poor schlubs who can’t score any real weed.
Adding to its portfolio of test offerings for designer drugs — which also includes a bath salts drug test for synthetic cathinones — Ameritox‘s synthetic cannabinoids drug test now provides quantitative results for metabolites from 15 synthetics that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) placed into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act on an “emergency basis” this summer.
I’d never smoke any of this garbage, myself, but if you’re into it, this may be a good time to start bummin’ out and thinkin’ about quittin’ the stuff, because Ameritox, which describes itself as “the nation’s leader in medication monitoring solutions,” on Wednesday announced the launch of its newest test offering for synthetic cannabinoids (very inaccurately known as “synthetic marijuana”), which includes brand names such as “K2” and “Spice.”
JWH-018 mimics — SORT OF — the effects of THC because it is similar on a molecular level. It is, however, apparently MUCH more dangerous than the natural cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant
These designer drugs, while created to mimic the effects of marijuana, are in no way “synthetic marijuana,” which would by definition contain the actual cannabinoids that are in cannabis, not synthetic analogues that differ on the molecular level. That difference can be critical, because there is no guarantee synthetic cannabinoids are completely non-toxic, as the real ones are.
With reported side effects including paranoia, panic attacks, and even psychotic episodes (the jury’s still out on that one), the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that the number of calls related to synthetic cannabinoids and/or K2 and Spice more than doubled from 2010 to 2011.
“With the rising abuse of designer drugs like synthetic cannabinoids, clinicians face an ever-increasing list of potential threats to their patients’ safety — and to society’s safety,” claimed Harry Leider, M.D., chief medical officer at Ameritox. “Today, the ability to screen for newly developed, dangerous compounds like these synthetic cannabinoids is essential.
“Ameritox is committed to supporting physicians with advanced urine drug monitoring technology and insights to help clinicians enhance and optimize the care of chronic pain patients,” Dr. Leider claimed.
Like other designer drugs, synthetic cannabinoids are a manufactured version a few molecules away from an illicit substance, created by chemists to bypass laws and provide a “legal high.” Synthetic cannabinoids are marketed in the form of herbs and spices typically sprayed with the synthetics, but, according to Ameritox, can be four to 100 times more potent than THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Synthetic cannabinoids are sold under a variety of brand names such as the aforementioned K2 and Spice, as well as Kronic, Skunk, Black Mamba, and Bombay Blue. They are often marketed as “herbal incense” or “herbal smoking blends” and, to get around regulations, are often labeled “not for human consumption.”
Synthetic cannabinoids are often available in head shops, tobacco stores, and over the Internet. In March 2011, the DEA placed five specific synthetic cannabinoids into the Schedule I section of the Controlled Substances Act, due to a claimed high abuse potential and lack of medical use. Of course, the DEA also falsely claims the same things about actual marijuana, which certainly shows they are willing to lie their cop asses off.
The DEA claimed last year’s move was “necessary to avoid imminent hazard to the public safety.” The DEA has since expanded that list as part of the “Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012,” signed into law by President Obama in July.
The various branches of the U.S. military have also banned the use of synthetic cannabinoids after becoming alarmed at their popularity within the ranks.