Study: Consumers Prefer Natural Cannabis Over Synthetic ‘Marijuana’ Herbal Products

Study: Consumers Prefer Natural Cannabis Over Synthetic 'Marijuana' Herbal ProductsLondon, United Kingdom: Consumers strongly prefer organic cannabis to retail herbal products that contain synthetic cannabinoid agonists, according to survey data published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Investigators at Kings College in London surveyed some 15,000 subjects regarding their use of cannabis and/or herbal synthetic products, marketed under trade names like Spice and K2. Of the respondents reporting past experience with synthetic retail products, 99 percent also reported having consumed organic cannabis.

Authors found: "Synthetic cannabis reportedly had both a shorter duration of action and quicker time to peak onset of effect than natural cannabis. Natural cannabis was preferred to synthetic cannabis by 93 percent of users, with natural cannabis rated as having greater pleasurable effects when high and being more able to function after use. Synthetic cannabis was associated with more negative effects, hangover effects and greater paranoia."

Authors concluded: "Users report a strong preference for natural over synthetic cannabis. The latter has a less desirable effect profile."

In March 2011, US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) exercised its ’emergency scheduling authority’ to criminally prohibit the possession and sale of several of the synthetic cannabinoid agonists contained in retail products such as Spice. Following the enactment of the ban, the scientists responsible for creating the agonists acknowledged, "[M]arijuana is not nearly as dangerous as these compounds."

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, "Synthetic cannabis: A comparison of patterns of use and effect profile with natural cannabis in a large global sample," appears in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.