Monday, January 5, 2015

Synthetic Cannabinoids in TX - December 2014-January 2015

Over the last few days there have been reports out of Texas regarding a "bad batch" of synthetic cannabinoid product(s). According to Beaumont, TX emergency service personnel, there have been more than 50 hospitalizations or cases of synthetic cannabinoid overdose since December 28, 2014. The linked article was published on January 2, 2015, so that is a 5 day span. Two brands of product named are "Gumbo" and "Alice in Wonderland". According to the Baptist Hospital Emergency Department there have been 66 synthetic cannabinoid related cases throughout the area since Christmas 2014.

Two things from the article that I would like to address:

1. Can we stop with the "bad batch" or "contaminated batch" line of discussion? Unless there is some unknown contaminant described in the future, the compounds that are causing these adverse issues are synthetic cannabinoids. These synthetic cannabinoids are acting as they should. They are full agonists at the cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2. And who knows what other effects they may have with other receptors?

2. The article states that "deputies" say "the chemicals in this  batch may include meth, PCP and ingredients similar to rat poison". Ok. The use of the word "may" gives the statement much wiggle room, but let's not put this out there unless we  are 100% confident that the products include methamphetamine, PCP, or "rat poisons". There has never been a synthetic cannabinoid product (in published case reports) that was reported to contain methamphetamine, PCP, or "rat poisons". Believe me, synthetic cannabinoids are more than able to produce these adverse effects solely on their own. This sort of asinine behavior by deputies and then constant regurgitation by media is what led to the association of "bath salts" with cannibalism and face eating in the Rudy Eugene-Ronald Poppo case in Miami, FL in 2012 (by the way, again, the incident wasn't even "bath salts"-related).

Stay safe folks.