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News (Media Awareness Project) - New Zealand: 'Herbal Highs' Should Be Regulated - Scientist
Title:New Zealand: 'Herbal Highs' Should Be Regulated - Scientist
Published On:2011-07-11
Source:Dominion Post, The (New Zealand)
Fetched On:2011-07-13 06:02:03
'HERBAL HIGHS' SHOULD BE REGULATED - SCIENTIST

Synthetic cannabis products contain an alarming cocktail of chemicals
whose side-effects are largely unknown, new research shows.

Environmental Science and Research has spent several months testing 43
herbal highs available in New Zealand and found that all of them
contain at least one synthetic cannabinoid - and in many cases more.

Ten of the products - or nearly a quarter - contained four or
more.

ESR scientist Paul Fitzmaurice said that was worrying.

"Some of the products available in New Zealand contained quite an
elaborate mixture.

"There's very little data regarding the effects of these types of
drugs and even less regarding combinations of these drugs."

Two of the products - Kronic Pineapple Express and Juicy Puff Super
Strength - were recalled by the Health Ministry last week after ESR
testing showed they contained prescription medicine phenazepam.

The speed with which new products were developed, and the often ad hoc
way they were assembled, meant that the ingredients ESR found may have
already changed, he said.

Another ESR scientist, Keith Bedford, said he supported the Law
Commission's recommendations in its review of drug laws that 'herbal
highs' be regulated by government.

Self-regulation by producers and suppliers was not adequate to ensure
safety, he said.

Leo Schep, a toxicologist at the National Poisons Centre, said that
since last October, the centre had received 48 calls about serious
side effects from smoking synthetic cannabinoids.

They included four patients who had seizures and three who lost
consciousness.
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