JWH-018, also called a ‘synthetic cannabinoid’, is an emerging drug of choice to replace the use of Marijuana. Since it provides the same effect or even better than Marijuana, most herbal smoke blends incorporate JWH-018 as part of the ingredients to achieve a better ‘high’ experience. Nevertheless, the effects of JWH-018 still vary among individuals. Usually, novice smokers may undergo a much more profound “high” experience compared to regulars. A few users may or may not show the same signs and symptoms, however, they may experience the same effect of JWH-018 in general.
JWH-018 and other synthetic cannabinoids are commonly used as alternatives to cannabidiol and other natural cannabinoids. Online websites and retailers sell these products without any age restrictions with unverified claims about therapeutic effects on the management of rare and chronic diseases in man. In the United States, under federal law, products containing JWH-018 are legal, although there are different state laws regulating the use and distribution of products containing synthetic cannabinoids.
JWH-018 is the active ingredient in many products labeled as “Natural Cannabinoid Alternatives” or “Synthetic Cannabinoids.” These products are used by users to induce a heightened feeling of happiness and overall well being. JWH-018 has also been reported to induce a state of calmness, relaxation, and sedation. However, there are different reports suggesting that JWH-018 can induce a dangerous level of sedation that causes coma in high doses. Generally, synthetic cannabinoids increase a user’s interest in enjoyment and food. This explains why users have reported increased appetite stimulation after using synthetic cannabinoids. JWH-018 is also used for pain relief and in the management of high blood pressure.
JWH-018 mimics the mechanism of THC found in marijuana, thus affecting the functions of the brain resulting in CNS depression. Since it binds itself to CB1 receptors dominantly found in the brain, expect to notice symptoms of alterations in the control of emotions, motivation, judgment, memory, and learning. For smoking a regular dose of 3 to 5mg of JWH-018, its psychological effects include:
- Heightened mood
- Enhanced sense of humor
- Heightened curiosity and intrigue
- Racing thoughts
- Time distortion and dilation
- Buzzing or humming like a psychedelic experience
- Reduced concentration
- Relaxed state
- Mild euphoria (phasing in between bouts)
- Manic-depressive disorder
Like its cognitive and psychological effects, physical effects are obvious upon using JWH-018:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Droopy eyelids
- Heavy sinking feeling
- Respiratory suppression
- Controlled breathing
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
- Sensitivity to pleasure
JWH-018 also renders some positive effects such as analgesia and anti-anxiety. These claims are doubtful due to lack of evidence from scientific researchers. Therefore, the proposal for its medical application as a response to its therapeutic effect is still out-of-the-question.