Macquarie University researcher Shivani Sachdev has developed new tests to analyse synthetic cannabinoids and found some are up to 300 times more powerful than the cannabis plant…a group of drugs causing hundreds of deaths and hundreds of hospitalisations around the world.
“Synthetic drugs are cheap, potent and widely available – and they have become a dangerous epidemic, literally poisoning people all over the world,” says Sachdev.
“People have died from just a small dose of some of these synthetic cannabinoids, which act in very different ways to the plant and which are far more potent,” she says.
Sachdev’s research has compared the activity of more than 20 different synthetic cannabinoids to the psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), found in the cannabis plant.
“This is the first research to quantify the strength of these compounds and what we found is very disturbing; some of these synthetic drugs were 300 times more powerful than cannabis.”