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Synthetic drugs : a threat to vape culture in New-Zealand
The appearance of e-liquids incorporating synthetic research chemicals is beginning to worry authorities in New-Zealand. While totally illegal, synthetic cannabinoid-based products have penetrated the market, causing significant damage and health issues. E-cigarettes used as delivery devices for these products amplify the effects of synthetic THC to dangerous levels.
The Waitemata District Health Board (WDHB) has recently stated that this situation is reaching critical mass. Synthetic research chemicals, including synthetic cannabis products, represent a serious threat to user health. These health risks go beyond those of traditional cannabis products, in particular given the cocktails of toxic products that black market e-liquids can contain.
According to Samuel Andrews, the organisation spokesperson, consuming synthetic cannabinoids in e-liquid can have disastrous consequences. The active ingredient, distilled to powder form to be diluted in e-juice, can be a great deal more dangerous than classic cannabis. The effects of these DIY recipes can be a hundred times stronger than expected. Given the danger, it is highly recommended to only vape e-liquids sourced on the open market.
Highly dangerous and illegal products
Auckland police recently seized a not insignificant amount of e-liquid containing cannabis concentrates. Consumption of these products has led to hospital visits by completely disoriented and terrified users. Given the increase in potency, their addictive properties have been described by some to be on par with heroin.
According to Samuel Andrews, this represents a serious threat to public health. Overdoses and even fatal cases due to irrational and dangerous decision-making have already made headlines in New-Zealand. Authorities are worried that this phenomenon could ramp up in the coming months.
In France, a similar case made the news recently regarding an e-liquid named “Buddha Blues” in Brittany. Health organisations and relevant government bodies must do everything in their power to minimise the
dangers of these practices. There is a strong risk that electronic cigarette users end up becoming synonymous with synthetic drug users in the public eye. Thankfully, this type of e-cig usage remains limited in vaping culture, and let’s hope it stays that way.
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