Adverse effects of synthetic cannabinoids

Hi, Dr. X
About 9 months ago I smoked some synthetic cannabis and had a really horrible time, about 5mins in my vision started to go all cartoony like on a psychedelic then that subsided quickly and a buzzing started in my head, a tiny bit similar to real cannabis, but it kept getting stronger and stronger until it felt like someone was shaking my brain from side to side really violently my vision was also shaking really strongly side to side. When I closed my eyes there were fairly weak CEV’S, I started to panic and was very close to going to the hospital but I just held back ,I can’t tell how long it lasted but I’d guess an hour.

It shook me up a bit but I forgot about it until I started to notice 1-2 months later I wasn’t really enjoying smoking cigarettes anymore, it wasn’t a relaxing break anymore but just something I had to do. It then became quite nasty when I smoked; it tasted bad, it hurt my chest (it never used to) and if I smoked a full cigarette I’d get a bad headache and a tingling in my hands (like pins and needles) and would have to sit down for 5-10 mins.

Worse is that the same has happened to weed, It must have been about 4 months after the synthetic stuff that I tried real weed again. It started to kick in and felt OK for about 5mins then it started to get fuzzy and a bit confusing and it kept on getting worse and was just really not nice I fell asleep and woke up 3-4 hours later feeling really rough. I’ve tried 3 other strains since then with the same results every time. I tried some some cannabis oil I made myself but it was sort of the same feeling but a bit weaker.

Last night I tried DMT for the first time I took roughly 50mg probably less I had trouble vaporizing it ( first time ) but I didn’t really feel anything so I took some more and I started to feel something but it wasn’t nice and no real visuals it started to feel a tiny bit similar to when I smoke weed so I stopped. I want to try again but I’m worried the same thing will happen.

I don’t know if it’s related but about a month after the synthetic weed I took MDMA everyday for 5 days in a row about 2g in total (I know this is really stupid) the week after I had some really bad symptoms. I generally felt ill, when I tried to sleep just before I would fall asleep I would get a feeling like an electric shock through my body and jump up, this would happen 4-5 times before I fell asleep this happened for a week before it stopped then a week later I started getting pins and needles all over my body, it was pretty unpleasant. I guessed it was something to do with the CNS so I started to drink a couple of beers when it started because alcohol is a CNS depressant I think? this did dull the tingling a bit, a week later this stopped too I took a 5 month break and now I’m fine with MDMA.

I’ve had cocaine, LSD, speed, MDMA and methylone several times since and had no problems ( the comedown on the coke was really bad but it was much better quality than I’ve ever had) I’m really starting to worry something permanent has happened to the way my brain reacts to these things any help would really be appreciated. Sorry for the long post and thanks a lot for reading

Originally posted in SR 21/4/14 . Reviewed 8/2/23

The metaphor of drug users as «guinea pigs» when using MDMA, amphetamines or LSD is part of drug legends designed to scare people. However, it seems to have become a self-fulfilling prophecy in recent years.

THC and CBD, key components of cannabis, have been used for millennia and their effects and risks are well known. Synthetic cannabinoids, by contrast, are thousands of different molecules designed to bind to cannabinoid receptors. They are sometimes marketed, because they are not technically illegal, although their potential health risks are much higher than those of cannabis.

Psychotic-like symptoms occur more frequently in synthetic cannabis users than in hashish and marijuana users. These are usually transient symptoms, although they can be reactivated by other psychedelics. It is wise to take a long time off from any psychoactive drugs.

The type of cramp you describe is known as «brain zap» and is a relatively common effect after using very high amounts of MDMA.

MDMA adverse effects

MDMA adverse effects

I’m still relatively new to MDMA.. well, I shouldn’t say MDMA – I should say Party Pills as I guess I really don’t know what I’m taking (I’m buying a test kit soon).I love taking party pills because it’s much better to spend $50 – $75 (on pills) on a night out rather than $200 – $300 (on alcohol). But, my only worry is health risks. The only health risks I know about are, anxiety/paranoia from taking too much (only happened once to me), and over heating – which I avoid by drinking water every 1-2 hours. Is there any other health risks that I should be worried about?  I guess you could say memory loss, but I have much more memory loss when drinking alcohol.

Originally posted in SR2.0 Forum 3/2/14 Updated 2/2/23

Common side effects of MDMA include loss of appetite, visual distortions, nystagmus (involuntary eye movement), increased heart rate and blood pressure, edginess, body temperature changes, vomiting, anxiety, perspiration, motion sickness, confusion, dry mouth, jaw tension, and difficulty concentrating. However, not all of these effects occur in everyone, and the dose and frequency are determining factors. Some individuals may be more prone to these negative effects than others.

Hyperthermia is a severe but rare side effect that is more likely to occur in crowded spaces, during intense physical activity such as dancing, and when proper hydration is not maintained. To prevent this, it’s recommended to take breaks from dancing, replenish fluids (with water, juice, or isotonic beverages, in moderation, about half a liter per hour for intense physical activity and less for rest), and avoid or limit alcohol, as it increases dehydration and body heat. Moderation and common sense should guide fluid intake, rather than counting exact amounts.

MDMA increases heart rate and blood pressure, so those with heart conditions or hypertension should exercise caution when using it. High and continuous doses of MDMA in frequent users can lead to memory loss and mood alterations in the future. The rule of thumb for MDMA use is «Less is more.» Bad side effects and long-term consequences decrease, and the experience becomes more enjoyable, if there is more time between doses. It is estimated that using MDMA more than once a month can be excessive. Moderating its use is the key to fully experiencing its effects and preventing long-term consequences.

It’s impossible to know a pill’s concentration of MDMA without laboratory analysis. Reagent kits are available to detect the most common adulterant