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Rescue from Spice Intoxication: An Investigation in Rats of Agents to Reverse the Intoxicating and Dissociative Effects of Synthetic Cannabinoids

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Technical Report

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59th Medical Wing JBSA United States

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Synthetic cannabinoid SCB use has increased recently, particularly among armed services personnel, due to a combination of increased availability and inadequate methods of detecting use. Intoxication with these substances has resulted in adverse events that require medical attention. Acute SCB intoxication can produce effects similar to those reported for cannabis and its primary psychoactive constituent, delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol THC, including relaxation, euphoria, disinhibition, and elevated heart rate. However, in some cases, SCBs can produce nausea and vomiting, which are only rarely associated with cannabis use, and even then, only in extremely frequent users. Even more troubling, SCBs have been reported to produce elevated blood pressure, which is not associated with cannabis intoxication. The most apparent and disturbing adverse effect of SCB intoxication is acute psychosis. While this can occur after cannabis use as well, acute psychosis produced by SCBs may be longer in duration and more severe. Most distressing are reports of seizures, renal failure, and death following SCB intoxication, which again are not associated with cannabis use. Reversing acute SCB intoxication is thus a clinical challenge that could improve outcomes for civilians and military personnel alike. Current clinical practice in cases of SCB intoxication is to administer antipsychotics andor benzodiazepines, however the efficacy of these treatments remains unclear. Thus, the objective of this study was to identify clinically available medications that might be beneficial to reverse acute synthetic cannabinoid intoxication across several measures that reflect cannabinoid activity decreased locomotion, catalepsy, body temperature, and antinociception tail dip into 50 deg C water bath, as well as ataxia.

Subject Categories:

  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychology

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