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Synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 and psychosis: an explorative study.
Drug Alcohol Depend 2011; 117(2-3):152-7DA

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Aroma, Spice, K2 and Dream are examples of a class of new and increasingly popular recreational drugs. Ostensibly branded "herbal incense", they have been intentionally adulterated with synthetic cannabinoids such as JWH-018 in order to confer on them cannabimimetic psychoactive properties while circumventing drug legislation. JWH-018 is a potent cannabinoid receptor agonist. Little is known about its pharmacology and toxicology in humans. This is the first research considering the effects of JWH-018 on a psychiatric population and exploring the relationship between JWH-018 and psychotic symptoms.

METHOD

This paper presents the results of semi-structured interviews regarding the use and effects of JWH-018 in 15 patients with serious mental illness in a New Zealand forensic and rehabilitative service.

RESULTS

All 15 subjects were familiar with a locally available JWH-018 containing product called "Aroma" and 86% reported having used it. They credited the product's potent psychoactivity, legality, ready availability and non-detection in drug testing as reasons for its popularity, with most reporting it had replaced cannabis as their drug of choice. Most patients had assumed the product was "natural" and "safe". Anxiety and psychotic symptoms were common after use, with 69% of users experiencing or exhibiting symptoms consistent with psychotic relapse after smoking JWH-018. Although psychological side effects were common, no one reported becoming physically unwell after using JWH-018. Three subjects described developing some tolerance to the product, but no one reported withdrawal symptoms.

CONCLUSION

It seems likely that JWH-018 can precipitate psychosis in vulnerable individuals. People with risk factors for psychosis should be counseled against using synthetic cannabinoids.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Te Korowai-Whāriki, A Capital and Coast District Health Board Service, Ratonga Rua O Porirua, Regional Forensic Service, Raiha Street, P O Box 50-233 Porirua, New Zealand. Susanna Every-Palmer@moh.govt.nz

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

21316162

Citation

Every-Palmer, Susanna. "Synthetic Cannabinoid JWH-018 and Psychosis: an Explorative Study." Drug and Alcohol Dependence, vol. 117, no. 2-3, 2011, pp. 152-7.
Every-Palmer S. Synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 and psychosis: an explorative study. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011;117(2-3):152-7.
Every-Palmer, S. (2011). Synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 and psychosis: an explorative study. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 117(2-3), pp. 152-7. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.01.012.
Every-Palmer S. Synthetic Cannabinoid JWH-018 and Psychosis: an Explorative Study. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011 Sep 1;117(2-3):152-7. PubMed PMID: 21316162.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 and psychosis: an explorative study. A1 - Every-Palmer,Susanna, Y1 - 2011/02/11/ PY - 2010/07/07/received PY - 2011/01/06/revised PY - 2011/01/15/accepted PY - 2011/2/15/entrez PY - 2011/2/15/pubmed PY - 2012/2/7/medline SP - 152 EP - 7 JF - Drug and alcohol dependence JO - Drug Alcohol Depend VL - 117 IS - 2-3 N2 - BACKGROUND: Aroma, Spice, K2 and Dream are examples of a class of new and increasingly popular recreational drugs. Ostensibly branded "herbal incense", they have been intentionally adulterated with synthetic cannabinoids such as JWH-018 in order to confer on them cannabimimetic psychoactive properties while circumventing drug legislation. JWH-018 is a potent cannabinoid receptor agonist. Little is known about its pharmacology and toxicology in humans. This is the first research considering the effects of JWH-018 on a psychiatric population and exploring the relationship between JWH-018 and psychotic symptoms. METHOD: This paper presents the results of semi-structured interviews regarding the use and effects of JWH-018 in 15 patients with serious mental illness in a New Zealand forensic and rehabilitative service. RESULTS: All 15 subjects were familiar with a locally available JWH-018 containing product called "Aroma" and 86% reported having used it. They credited the product's potent psychoactivity, legality, ready availability and non-detection in drug testing as reasons for its popularity, with most reporting it had replaced cannabis as their drug of choice. Most patients had assumed the product was "natural" and "safe". Anxiety and psychotic symptoms were common after use, with 69% of users experiencing or exhibiting symptoms consistent with psychotic relapse after smoking JWH-018. Although psychological side effects were common, no one reported becoming physically unwell after using JWH-018. Three subjects described developing some tolerance to the product, but no one reported withdrawal symptoms. CONCLUSION: It seems likely that JWH-018 can precipitate psychosis in vulnerable individuals. People with risk factors for psychosis should be counseled against using synthetic cannabinoids. SN - 1879-0046 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/21316162/abstract/Synthetic_cannabinoid_JWH_018_and_psychosis:_An_explorative_study_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0376-8716(11)00063-9 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -