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Synthetic cannabinoid use among college students

It is known that synthetic cannabinoid use can be linked with severe problems such as psychosis, kidney failure, and death. A current study investigated the factors that lead to young adult use of synthetic cannabinoids as well as consequences faced as a result of use.

In this study, over 1000 undergraduate students completed an online survey over their cannabinoid use, consequences, and perception of use around their campus. The results of the survey showed that 7.9% of the sample had ever used synthetic cannabinoids, and 15.6% of those who had used once a year or more often. Those who reported use also reported multiple adverse effects such as anxiety, paranoia, tachycardia, and lightheadedness. 16.7% of the users either considered or went to the emergency room as a result of use.

As far as factors that influence use, students who had used natural cannabis were more likely to have tried synthetic cannabinoids compared to students who had not used natural cannabis. Students did not have the perception that synthetic cannabinoids were enjoyable or safe to use, but they did believe that they were easily available and would not show up on drug tests.

Take Away: College students who use synthetic cannabinoids are likely to experience negative consequences as a result. Those who have used natural cannabis are more likely to try synthetic cannabinoids.

Matthews, E.M., Jeffries, E., Hsieh, C., Jones, G., Buckner, J.D. (2019). Synthetic cannabinoid use among college students. Addictive Behaviors. 93, (219-224). Doi.org/10.016/j.addbeh.2019.02.009

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