Was Demi Moore smoking synthetic marijuana?
My substance abuser writer and researcher friend DrugMonkey (@drugmonkeyblog) just tweeted a CNN story suggesting that actress Demi Moore may have suffered adverse reactions after smoking a synthetic cannabimimetic product:
A woman called 911 soliciting help for actress Demi Moore, whom she said was "convulsing" and "burning up" after "smoking something," according to a recording of the call obtained Friday from the Los Angeles Fire Department.
[. . .]
"She smoked something -- it's not marijuana, but it's similar to incense. And she seems to be having convulsions of some sort."
Reports of tremors and seizures have been accumulating in association with synthetic marijuana products. These products are generally composed of an herbal material that is spiked with one or more synthetic compounds that act at cannabinoid CB1 receptors.
The "burning up" described by the 911 caller in the story would be consistent with some reports of serotonin-like syndrome associated with synthetic marijuana use.
The US Drug Enforcement Agency is currently regulating some of the psychoactive compounds as Schedule I substances, illegal for use or sale as they are deemed as having no medical value. Individual states have also issued bans on compounds containing even more related compounds in these products. However, marketers have been skirting laws by using compounds not expressly deemed illegal in state or federal statutes.
Moreover, analytical crime laboratories across the nation have suffered extensive budget cuts making it difficult to keep up with the demands in determinig which products are illicit.
On a personal note, the synthetic marijuana story that DrugMonkey, dr_leigh, and I have been writing about for two years is growing increasingly disturbing. I just received my second reader email in three months from a father whose son shot himself to death while allegedly addicted to synthetic marijuana products. We've been in touch with the US DEA to inquire as to whether similar cases are currently under investigation.
Just as DrugMonkey wrote awhile back (I have to find the post), adverse drug effects with celebrities are usually required before aggressive government action is taken against illicit drugs (death of University of Maryland basketball player Len Bias from cocaine and a congenital cardiac abnormality).