I was listening to a local radio interview, by a scientist talking about the development of synthetic cannabinoids.. fascinating stuff:
As with opium-based drugs, there are definite medicinal uses: ie Morphine as a strong pain-killer.
With Cannabis, there are two specific receptors in the brain, nervous system & cells, that THC & other active ingredients bind to. Scientists had been experimenting with trying to activate certain responses with these receptors, without it creating the so-called ‘cannabis/marijuana high’. These synthetics were found to bind more strongly to the receptors than NATURAL cannabis does. This creates a more powerful effect & also stronger side-effects (including irritability, emotional overload & potentially, psychosis.. in the extreme). He stated that these synthetics are known to caused very strong Psychoactive responses (much more than the natural stuff) & were never intended to be used as a substitute, but only as a research tool.
In other countries the law allows medicinal use of a natural extract (Sativex) & a synthetic one (Marinol), if prescribed by doctors to treat specific conditions.
It seems that they were released onto the recreational use market, (as an alternative to ‘Marijuana’) only because they can get around the current laws prohibiting Natural Cannabis.
In Aotearoa/NZ these substances are now licensed & regulated for sale.. whereas natural cannabis is not ! I have heard people opposed to law reform using the excuse, that the cannabis being grown now, is much stronger than the ‘weed the hippies smoked in the 60s’ BUT it sounds like the reality is, that these synthetics are known by science, to be much stronger than the strongest Natural Cannabis !! Where is the rationale in that ?