Synthetic cannabis use is lower in legalised states

Synthetic cannabis which can often contain illegal and often toxic chemicals has been found to be less of a problem in the states where cannabis is legal.

Types of synthetic cannabis on the black market include “Spice” and “K2”. These drugs have been shown to cause seizures, psychosis, confusion and agitation.

New research published in Clinical Technology has suggested that people are less likely to use these synthetic cannabis brands when buying legal, regulated, safe cannabis products is easier than those where it remains illegal.

By analysing Poison Control data between 2016 and 2019 the researchers found that there were 7,600 calls that were due to synthetic cannabis use.

Of these calls 65% required medical assistance and there were 61 deaths.

More than half the calls, 56%, took place in states with restricted cannabis policies. 38% took place in states that allowed medicinal cannabis. Only 5.5% took place in states that allowed the use of recreational cannabis.

The study was conducted by Tracy Klein of Washington State University. Klein said “This study shows some potential public health benefits to the legalization and regulation of adult use of cannabis,” said study lead author Tracy Klein, a WSU associate professor of nursing. “Based on both past research and this current study, it’s evident that users who have a choice to use a less toxic product would potentially do so.”

A previous study by JAMA Open found that between 2017 and 2019 poison control calls due to natural cannabis increased. This was due to manufactured products such as vaping materials and edibles which had high levels of THC.

In the same study they noted that calls related traditional plant cannabis declined.

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