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Questions about what exactly is synthetic cannabis and the latest research on pot imitations will be addressed at the New Zealand Drug Foundation’s Cannabis and Health Symposium in November.

“There has been a lot of public concern about synthetic cannabis but not much research done on its effects. We want to spread what knowledge is available to New Zealanders to ensure debate about synthetic cannabis is evidence-based,” New Zealand Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell said.

“Questions like ‘what the hell is it anyway?’, ‘Is it better or worse than real cannabis?’, ‘Will it turn me into a zombie?’, and ‘will the Psychoactive Substances Act keep me safe?’ will be answered during one of the sessions in the three day symposium.”

Stephen Bright from Curtin University, a leading researcher into the effects of synthetic cannabis, will talk about the health impacts he is seeing.

James Dunne, Senior Associate for Chen Palmer, will be talking about the policy and legal implications of synthetic cannabis and New Zealand’s new law regarding these substances.

“It’s easy to get lost in the maze of information around cannabis which is why we are addressing the real health, policy, and research questions around New Zealand’s favourite illegal drug,” Mr Bell said.

“Synthetic cannabis is now an established part of this equation. W ith recent changes in the law to regulate the sale of fake pot we need to start looking at its effects in a health-focussed way.”

For the full programme or to register for the 2013 International Drug Policy Symposium, Through the maze: Cannabis and Health please visit drugfoundation.org.nz/cannabis-and-health

What: 2013 International Drug Policy Symposium. Through the maze: Cannabis and Health
Where: Rendezvous Hotel, 71 Mayoral Drive, Auckland
When: 29–29 November, 2013
Info: www.drugfoundation.org.nz/news-media-and-events/2013-symposium-cannabis-and-health/

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