Uses, Effects and Toxicity of Synthetic Cannabinoids from the Perspective of People with Lived Experiences

Sulaf Assi, Danielle Marshall, Francesco Saverio Bersani, Ornella Corazza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Synthetic cannabinoids (SCs) are a class of synthetic chemicals with cannabis-like properties, and little is known about their pharmacological and toxicological effects. The objective of this study was to explore the effects of SCs and the underlying motivations of use among participants with lived experiences. Content analysis of experiences of people using SCs was carried out based on online discussions. A total of 1660 posts from 50 threads between 2004 and 2016 were examined. Relevant information was recorded on characteristics of users as well as on characteristics of SCs, the modality of their use, and the SC-related experienced effects and toxicity. Users exchanged online significant information on SCs consumption. While a growing amount of attention has been given to the chemical and pharmacological profile of SCs, very little is known about the subjective components of such use. It remains important to study the lived experiences of people who used novel psychoactive substances (NPSs) to implement prevention and treatment, and to guide future research in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-247
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psychoactive Drugs
Issue number3
Early online date6 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2020


  • addiction
  • Internet fora
  • novel psychoactive substances
  • Synthetic cannabinoids
  • toxicity


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