Int J Drug Policy. 2021 Jul 31;98:103396. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2021.103396. Online ahead of print.
The term ‘synthetic cannabis’ has been widely used in public discourse to refer to a group of cannabinoid receptor agonists. In this paper we detail the characteristics of these drugs, and present the case that the term is a misnomer. We describe the pharmacodynamics of these drugs, their epidemiology, mechanisms of action, physiological effects and how these differ substantially from delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). We argue that not only is the term a misnomer, but it is one with negative clinical and public health implications. Rather, the substances referred to as ‘synthetic cannabis’ in public discourse should instead be referred to consistently as synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs), a drug class distinct from plant-derived cannabinoids. SCRAs have greater potency and efficacy, and psychostimulant-like properties. While such terminology may be used in the scientific community, it is not widely used amongst the media, general public, people who use these drugs or may potentially do so. A new terminology has the potential to reduce the confusion and harms that result from the misnomer ‘synthetic cannabis’. The constant evolution of this distinct drug class necessitates a range of distinct policy responses relating to terminology, harm reduction, epidemiology, treatment, and legal status.
Source: ncbi 2