Suboxone Treatment Alexandria, Va 703-844-0184 NOVA Addiction Specialists – Synthetic cannabinoids and suicidal ideation

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Synthetic Cannabis Analogues and Suicidal Behavior – case report

I attached a report above from the Journal of Addiction  Medicine regarding synthetic cannabinoids and suicidality. It is a case report, but I’m certain there have been many people who self-harmed themselves after using seemingly-safe synthetic THC.THC is not a safe bet, neither is synthetic THC: In this case report, the guy tried to cut his throat after using Spice and almost died. He was not depressed. The brand he used was Shiva-ultrastrong.

Key points from the story above:


Synthetic cannabis analogues (SCAs)  exert psychotropic effects in a similar way to natural marijuana, which has D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as its main active component. They are structurally unrelated to THC, but can bind to cannabinoid receptors, with an affinity of up to 100 to 800 times that of THC.

‘‘Shiva Ultrastrong’’ is 1 of a large group of available synthetic cannabis analogue brands, sold as a herbal incense: a blend of natural herbs and essential oils. Some of the SCAs identified at ‘‘Shiva Ultrastrong’’ include AM2201, MAM2201, JWH-022 N-(4-pentenyl) analogue, and MAM2201 N-(5-chloropentyl) analogue

Systemic effects include tachycardia, chest pain, nausea, emesis, and somnolence, and serious adverse effects like myocardial infarction and prolonged seizures have been reported

It is well-known that cannabis use by patients with schizophrenia use cannabis is quite frequent. A possible explanation for the higher consumption in this population is its use as self-medication to alleviate negative symptoms (eg, blunted affect, apathy), depressive symptoms, and other negative affects (eg, anxiety, agitation), or even side effects of antipsychotic medication. .

Given the well-recognized detrimental effect of cannabis on the clinical course of psychotic disorders, the unusually high affinity of SCAs for endocannabinoid receptors could severely exacerbate positive symptoms. Additionally, because SCAs do not contain cannabidiol, unlike Cannabis sativa, no positive effect on anxiety or other symptoms are expected.

Cases of death by suicide have been attributed to SCAs (eg, JWH-018, AM2201) compounds found in postmortem blood toxicology tests.

John Huffman, a scientist based at Clemson University, discovered several synthetic cannabinoids—the JWH compounds, such as the JWH-022 found on ‘‘Shiva Ultrastrong’’ and JWH-018 that reportedly gives K2 its potency; he is credited to having said that ‘‘It is like Russian roulette to use these drugs. We don’t know a darn thing about them for real’’

Also, bad effects of THC in a young 14 year old are mentioned in another case-report:

A 14-year-old girl, long-term heavy cannabis user,
presented with generalized tonic-clonic seizures and decreased level
of consciousness a few hours after smoking cannabis. Brain magnetic
resonance imaging showed multiple areas of acute, subacute and
chronic ischemic lesions in the left frontal lobe, basal ganglia, and
corpus callosum. History of other illicit drug use and other known
causes of stroke were ruled out. Cannabis might cause stroke through
direct effects on the cerebral blood circulation, orthostatic hypotension,
vasculitis, vasospasm, and atrial fibrillation.

Multiple Cerebral Infarcts in a Young Patient Associated with Marijuana use

Adolescent marijuana users may be more
vulnerable to neural dysfunction and other deleterious consequences
than adults, since the brain undergoes dramatic
changes in gross morphology characterized by loss of gray
matter paralleled by an increase in white matter during this
period of life.yinloye et al., 2014; Wolff
et al., 2014; Hackam, 2015). Westover et al. found that
cannabis use was a significant risk factor for ischemic stroke
in a controlled epidemiology study (Westover et al., 2007). In
a population-based analysis of hospitalized patients in the
United States, Rumalla et al. concluded that, among younger
adults, recreational marijuana use is independently associated
with a 17% increase in the likelihood of acute ischemic stroke
hospitalization (Rumalla et al., 2016). It is postulated that
cannabis might produce stroke through direct effects on the
cerebral vasculature, and also orthostatic hypotension, vasculitis,
vasospasm, and atrial fibrillation (Thanvi and Treadwell,

Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome, which
is characterized by severe headaches with or without other
symptoms, and segmental constriction of cerebral arteries that
resolves within 3 months have been reported in association
with cannabis use.  Hackam reviewed case reports on cannabis
and cerebrovascular events, and found that this association
is relatively robust (Hackam, 2015). There seems to be a
predilection for the basal ganglia in strokes associated with
cannabis consumption and substantial stroke recurrence.

Hackam DG. Cannabis and stroke: systematic appraisal of case reports. Stroke

Thanvi BR, Treadwell SD. Cannabis and stroke: is there a link? Postgrad Med
J 1000;85:80–83.


Bottom line: THC is bad if you are under the age of 25, especially since the full myelination of the brain does not complete until that age.

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