Professor Shane Darke and Dr Samuel Banister presented at the NDARC Webinar series on Thursday 18 March, 2021.

The term ‘synthetic cannabis’ is a dangerous misnomer that has negative clinical and public health implications.

About this event

The term ‘synthetic cannabis’ has been widely used to cover a diverse group of cannabinoid receptor agonists. In this presentation we discuss the characteristics of these drugs, and present the case that the term is a dangerous misnomer that has negative clinical and public health implications. We describe the pharmacodynamics of these drugs, their epidemiology, mechanisms of action, physiological effects and how these differ from THC. We argue that they constitute a new drug class: synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs) which have more characteristics in common with psychostimulants than with cannabis.


Speaker bios

Professor Shane Darke is a leading world expert on the health effects associated with illicit drug use. He has written many seminal works, including over 290 articles and 4 books. His most recent book, “The clinician‘s guide to illicit drugs and health“ was published in 2019 by Silverback Publishing (London).

Samuel Banister is a Team Leader in Medicinal Chemistry with The Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, at the Brain and Mind Centre, The University of Sydney. His research is centred on the use of natural product scaffolds for the development of new drugs for epilepsy, neuropathic pain, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and schizophrenia.

Please note: readers and audience are encouraged to go to the presenter’s published paper for the most fulsome account of the research and its findings. 

Date Commenced
22 Mar 2021
Resource Type
NDARC Seminars