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Synthetic Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists: a heterogeneous class of novel psychoactive substance with emerging risk of psychosis
  1. Daniel Whiting
  1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK; daniel.whiting@psych.ox.ac.uk

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ABSTRACT FROM: Van Amsterdam J, Brunt T, van den Brink W. The adverse health effects of synthetic cannabinoids with emphasis on psychosis-like effects. J Psychopharmacol 2015;29:254–63.

What is already known on this topic

Concerns grow over the harms of novel psychoactive substances (NPS), and their profile was raised further in the UK when plans for new legislation banning their use were announced in May 2015. The widespread reporting of ‘legal high’ mortality figures has previously been criticised as misleading owing to the overinclusivity of this term,1 and specific data on the toxicity profile of these drugs is relatively scarce. The review by van Amsterdam and colleagues brings together such evidence specifically for the NPS subtype of Synthetic Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists (SCRAs, known as ‘Spice’), focusing on psychosis-like effects given the biological plausibility of this risk conferred by their full cannabinoid receptor agonism.2

Methods of the study

The authors searched PubMed for English, French, German or Dutch language papers and hand searched reference lists of retrieved papers. Synonyms for synthetic …

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