Brief report: Synthetic cannabinoid use among military personnel

Abstract: Background and Objectives: Synthetic cannabinoids (SCs) may function as a marijuana alternative for soldiers subject to frequent drug screens, yet no study has interviewed past military users of SCs. Methods: Veterans participating in eight US veterans treatment courts were interviewed (n = 318; response rate = 54.9%). Thematic analyses were completed. Results: Sixty-five veterans (21.3%) reported SC use. Three major themes were identified: SCs were not a suitable marijuana replacement, the experience was unpleasant/problematic, and curiosity, sometimes paired with the perception of safely eluding drug screens, facilitated use. Conclusion and Scientific Significance: While members of the military experimented with SCs, habitual use of SCs within the Armed Forces does not appear widespread. The perception that SCs are excluded from all urinalyses may contribute to experimentation, but the unpleasant experience generally discourages recurrent use.

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