Pol. Merkur. Lek (Pol. Med. J.), 2016, XLI/241: 056-059 Maximize

Pol. Merkur. Lek (Pol. Med. J.), 2016, XLI/241: 056-059

Title: Cannabinoid and cathinone designer drugs – the workings and selected methods of analysis 

Authors: Nędza J, Polaniak R, Bułdak RJ, Majchrzak M, Margasińska J, Rojkiewicz M, Celiński R, Grochowska-Niedworok E. 

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Cannabinoid and cathinone designer drugs – the workings and selected methods of analysis

Nędza J1,2, Polaniak R1, Bułdak RJ1, Majchrzak M2, Margasińska J2, Rojkiewicz M3, Celiński R2 , Grochowska-Niedworok E1.

1Silesian Medical University, Faculty of Public Heath in Bytom, Department of Human in Zabrze, Poland; 2ToxLab LLC Toxicology Laboratory in Katowice, Poland; 3University of Silesia, Institute of Chemistry, Department of Organic Synthesis in Katowice, Poland

Recently, there has been an increase in the consumption of designer drugs, substances aimed at producing psychoactive, energizing, euphoric or anesthetic effects. Designer drugs are substitutes of actual narcotics, whose possession is banned under Polish law according to the Act of 29 July 2005. The latest reports suggest that the number of synthetic psychoactive substances is increasing. In the span of 2012, a total of 28 new synthetic cannabinoids were discovered in member states of the European Union. Synthetic psychoactive substances appear in different forms on the market: tablets (often very colourful and interestingly-shaped), seeds, dried product (sprayed with synthetic substance and redried), crystals or powder. The way of application is greatly diverse, and depends on the form in which a drug is produced and dispensed. The methods of intoxication include smoke inhalation (oftentimes blends are smoked), intranasal or oral application, placing crystals on the eye, or injection. Said methods correspond, with varying degrees, to invoking different psychotic effects, such as agitation, panic attacks, paranoia, hallucinations, overall irritation, and aggression. Various cardiovascular effects, such as tachycardia or increase in blood pressure, may follow as well. However, the primary influence is on the nervous system, inhibiting the reuptake of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, noradrenalin and dopamine, and leading to their increased concentration at the presynaptic cleft, which in turn causes feelings of agitation and pleasure. The knowledge regarding the strength, toxicity, and metabolism of designer drugs is yet sparse. The same pertains to the knowledge regarding the handling of overdose cases.

Key words: designer drugs, kannabinoids, katynons, UR-144, XLR-11

Pol Med J, 2016; XLI (241); 56–59