June 23, 2011
The recent meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence featured a very well attended session on the emerging recreational drugs that are best described generically as synthetic cannabis. Popularly these are frequently referred to as K2 or Spice as these seem to be the best known of the initial market branding. One of the first identified and most frequently observed active compounds in these products was JWH-018, so you may see this term as well.
The past year or two has seen an explosion in the use and supply of synthetic cannabinoid “incense” products in the US and worldwide. The basic nature of the product is well established- Small packets (typically 3g in the US) of dried plant material marketed as “incense” and marked “not for human consumption” that are priced well above what you might expect. In the range of $60 at my local fine inhalation glassware establishments, last I checked. Upon analysis, these products are typically found to have a variety of plant materials, but also to be adulturated with a host of drug compounds that have agonist effects at the CB1 receptor.
As you are aware the most-active psychotropic compound to be found in cannabis, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) confers the majority of its effects through partial agonist activity at CB1 receptors.
In short, these “incense” products are a constructed, synthetic mimic of cannabis. Since the active ingredients are, in many cases, full agonists this means that the maximum CB1 activation can potentially be higher than you could achieve with any dose of the partial agonist THC.
1) Tell me about you. Who are you? Do you have a background in science? If so, what draws you here as opposed to meatier, more academic fare? And if not, what brought you here and why have you stayed? Let loose with those comments.
2) Tell someone else about this blog and in particular, try and choose someone who’s not a scientist but who you think might be interested in the type of stuff found in this blog. Ever had family members or groups of friends who’ve been giving you strange, pitying looks when you try to wax scientific on them? Send ‘em here and let’s see what they say.
I found the comments in response to this fascinating and used the excuse to meme it here. Things kinda took off after that.
The Seattle PI’s Big Blog (Covering Seattle news, weather, arts and conversation, along with a grab bag of stuff that’s just plain interesting) has an article up covering an animal rights extremist group’s billboard campaign in their fair city. What is interesting about this is the rather fair handed set of options they have chosen.
- Eye opening. Glad they’re spreading the message.
- Unfair and sensationalistic.
- Disturbing, but it’s a message we all need to hear.
- Just plain incorrect.
- Boring. I wish [AR extremist group] would go back to naked demonstrations.
June 7, 2011
A Twitt from the Foundation for Alcohol Research (@AlcoholResearch) today struck my attention. It sounded to me like the usual slippery slope of creating human health prescriptions from limited scientific findings.
Teen athletes may drink more, but smoke less & use fewer drugs. How do you lessen your teen’s risk? http://bit.ly/mysWna
The link is to their newsletter which overviews a paper by Terry-McElrath and O’Malley, currently in pre-print at Addiction. The overview is pretty straightforward, based closely on the paper and eschews the problem with the Twitt, which was the question as to whether you could “lessen your teen’s risk”. So I am mostly mollified.
The paper in question reports data from a survey of over 11,000 US high school seniors (classes of 1986-2001), captured as seniors and then followed longitudinally until age 26. These data were collected as part of the Monitoring the Future study which we discuss quite frequently on this blog.
The key focus of this paper is on the amount of physical activity the surveyed HS seniors reported at first contact. The Participation in Sports, Athletics or Exercising (PSAE) measure was derived:
…by asking, “How often do you actively participate in sports, athletics or exercising” (1=never, 2=a few times a year, 3=once or twice a month, 4=at least once a week, 5=almost every day).
June 3, 2011
I’ve been having a little Twitt discussion with Retraction Watch honcho @ivanoransky over a recent post in which they discuss whether a failure to replicate a result justifies a retraction.
Now, Ivan Oransky seemed to take great umbrage to my suggestion in a comment that there was dereliction in their duty to science to intentionally conflate a failure to replicate with intentional fraud. Per usual, we boiled it down to a fundamental disagreement over connotation. What it means to the average person to see that a paper is retracted.
I rely upon my usual solution, DearReader. Select all choices that apply when you see a retraction or that you think should induce a retraction.
Direct link to the poll in case you can’t see it.
My position can be found after the jump….