Synthetic Cannabinoids – Harms and General risk – Dr Raimondo Bruno

Posted on: June 8, 2019
Last Updated: November 25, 2023

Dr. Raimondo Bruno is an Associate Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Tasmania. His main research interests include the cognitive consequences of use of medications and illicit drugs; illicit drug market trends; and approaches to reduce the harms associated with substance use. He has active research collaborations with key national research centers in the substance use field and holds conjoint positions at Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, and the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales.


Author Quotes:  

One of the reasons we end up with harms is that we have an ever more potent product that’s not necessarily made to good manufacturing practice standards.

I went through the various systematic studies that have been done across emergency rooms across the US, and they are systematic so they look quite informative. But because the nature of the products changes very rapidly over time, information from a paper looking at presentations in 2010 isn’t necessarily going to be informative about what you are seeing now. 


Summary and slides: 

 In the second half of Dr. Bruno’s presentation, he begins with a look at some data from a study of cannabis use in a large global sample.  

He emphasizes the significant risk of hotspots when high potent substances are not mixed very well and discusses data from the Global Drug Survey relating to emergency treatment sought by users. 

Moving on to present clinical responses, he discusses data from Neptune (Novel Psychoactive Treatment UK-Network). Around half of the people that present to emergency wards will respond to some hydration and being left quietly.  

Concluding this talk, Dr. Bruno gives a summary of the number of deaths in the last year in New Zealand and provides the audience with several links to key resources. 


Take-home Points:  

  • Benzodiazepines have proved successful for anxiety, panic, and agitation. 
  • There have been a number of high impact outbreaks in recent years. 
  • All clinicians should be aware of NEPTUNE clinical guidance for management.


Learn more

  1. Synthetic Cannabinoids – Myths Vs Science – Dr. Raimondo Bruno