Study: Consumers Of Botanical Cannabis Hold Negative Impressions Of So-Called ‘Synthetic’ Marijuana

Bowling Green, OH: Marijuana consumers possess a more favorable opinion of botanical cannabis than they do retail products marketed as so-called ‘synthetic marijuana’ (herbal products containing synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists like JWH-018), according to survey data published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Researchers at Bowling Green University surveyed 186 adults who had experience using both herbal cannabis and so-called ‘synthetic’ products (such as K2 or Spice) and 181 subjects who had only consumed cannabis.

Authors reported, “[I]ndividuals who have used marijuana and/or synthetic cannabinoids agreed more strongly with positive outcome expectancies for botanical marijuana than for synthetic cannabinoids, and more strongly with negative outcome expectancies for synthetic cannabinoids than for botanical marijuana.”

Consumers of synthetic products said that they were most likely to use the substances because they were more widely accessible than herbal cannabis and/or because they were trying to avoid testing positive for marijuana exposure on a drug test.

The findings are similar to those of prior studies reporting that consumers prefer herbal cannabis to synthetic alternatives, and that the primary appeal of synthetic products is that they seldom produce a positive drug test result.

The inventor of the synthetic chemicals, John W. Huffman, has acknowledged that the agents possess greater risks to health than herbal cannabis and has suggested legalizing the plant in order to reduce their demand.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, “Comparison of outcome expectancies for synthetic cannabinoids and botanical marijuana,” appears in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.