Buddha Blue (PTC): what is this fashionable drug for teens?

Buddha Blue (PTC) : quelle est cette drogue à la mode chez les ados ?

Buddha Blue or PTC (Pète Ton Crâne) is a drug classified as narcotic which is spread around high schools. Most often sold as a vaping liquid, it can cause tachycardia, hallucinations and even paranoia attacks. Composition, effects and dangers with Vincent Villiers, addictologist.

The “Buddha Blue”, also nicknamed PTC for “Pète Ton Crâne”, is a synthetic drug appeared a few years ago in Finistère (Brittany) and which is attracting more and more adolescents. Inexpensive and available in one click on the Internet, this synthetic cannabinoid, which is inhaled in electronic cigarettes, is linked to serious side effects and already responsible for several hospitalizations. In 2017, in Cherbourg, in the Manche, a teenager became unwell after smoking Buddha Blue. The same year, several young people aged 16 to 22 had to go to the emergency room because they suffered from worrying symptoms after vaping this product. More recently, in Calvados, “17 students developed symptoms after inhaling the substance and some had to be hospitalized“, reported the rectorate of Calvados to France Bleu. A file mentioning all the symptoms and the action to be taken in the event of intoxication or in the event of contact with a person having consumed Buddha Blue was sent, on this occasion, to all the high schools and colleges of the Caen Academy. On November 15, 2019, three 15 and 16-year-old adolescents attending the Lycée Jules Ferry in Versailles (Yvelines) were poisoned after potentially inhaling Buddha Blue in an electronic cigarette, police sources said. To confirm this, toxicological analyzes must take place, specifies the parquet of Versailles.

Two fatal overdoses have also been identified in Europe, informs Grégory Lange, of the National Association for Prevention in Alcohology and Addictology. In France, no deaths has not yet been reported.

Produced in China and India, The Buddha Blue is a synthetic cannabinoid that mimics the psychoactive effects of THC, the active molecule of cannabis. However, its dosages are difficult to control and its effects, even at low doses, are most of the time much more powerful than those of natural cannabis. “It is estimated that this product would be composed of a synthetic cannabinol equivalent to one 95% THC concentration. But we still do not know much about this product, if analyzes have been carried out and under what conditions they were carried out. In comparison, our parents’ seals contained 6 to 8% THC. Today, the cannabis found in France has a THC concentration of 15 to 16%. So, with an equivalent of 95% THC, one can easily imagine that the effects are colossal “, relates Vincent Villiers, addictologist and hypnotherapist specializing in cannabis addiction. Note that some symptoms may persist up to 24 hours after taking.

Odorless and colorless, this attractive tasting substance is found in the form of vaping liquid for electronic cigarette. We can also spray it on herbs in order to imitate cannabis. Inexpensive, it can be ordered on the Internet for a few tens of euros and is available under various names: Buddha Blue, Blue, Spice, Legal Eye, K2

Cannabinoids are a family of molecules, found in particular in cannabis and which act on certain cells in the body.

Consumption of Buddha Blue begins with relax and “hover”. Euphoria, relaxation and a feeling of joy are the expected effects. But during the “ascent” phase, the consumer may also experience undesirable effects such as:

  • hot flashes,
  • severe headache,
  • respiratory distress,
  • tachycardia (the heart beats very quickly or even irregularly),
  • hallucinations,
  • paralysis,
  • paranoia attacks and out of the body.

In my opinion, the effects of this drug are closer to those of LSD or ketamine than those of cannabis. Among the testimonies of the Norman teenagers who consumed Buddha Blue or the people who spoke on the forums, many say that they did not know what they were smoking and that they took puffs one after the other without paying too much attention. And since the effects come suddenly, they are found stuck in a terrible bad trip, a nightmare they could not stop and in which they were aware“, describes the addictologist.

“The effects of this drug are close to LSD or ketamine.”

Not considering “as there is neither legislation nor control on these products, the manufacturers, who sell them on the black market, do not always mention on the packaging that they should not take more than 3 puffs. Results: these products are extremely overdosed.

Since a decree of March 31, 2017, Buddha Blue (which would correspond to the cannabinoid 5F-AKB-48) is classified on the list of narcotics. Its sale and use are therefore illegal.

In the event of an anxiety attack or panic attack, it is advisable to sit down, put your head down and then breathe regularly and slowly. In case of more severe symptoms (delusional behavior, respiratory distress, hallucinations, tachycardia, paranoia crisis …), call 15 to request medical assistance. Do not drive after consuming this substance.

In theory, the higher the THC content of a product, the greater the addictive effect. “However, since the effects of Buddha Blue are extremely powerful, testing this synthetic drug often generates anxiety. Few people live this hallucinatory experience well and few people want to repeat it“, explains Vincent Villiers. In other words, because of the violent and even traumatic effects of this substance, its addictive effect would therefore remain moderate.

In addictology, we do not speak of “dependence” for adolescents, but rather of “addictive driving” since it is estimated that the adolescent brain is not yet structurally finished. It is at a slightly older age that we can speak of a phenomenon of dependence. In addition, most adolescents who have addictive behaviors will abandon them as adults. On the other hand, there is cause for concern when there is suspicion of addictive behavior, when the teenager becomes disociable, his grades fall at school or his behavior changes (aggression, withdrawal, lack of confidence , vulnerability, loss of appetite …)“, explains our interlocutor.

To help a young person to abandon his addictive behaviors, Young Consumer Consultations (CJC) are provided by professionals in certain care, support and prevention centers in addiction (CSAPA) or in places specializing in welcoming young people (Adolescent homes, youth listening centers). It is a methodology adapted to support teens in their addictive behavior with regard to substances such as cannabis and to offer them help before their use becomes problematic. The teenager can go there alone or be accompanied by a loved one or his parents.

thanks to Vincent Villiers, addictologist and hypnotherapist specializing in cannabis addiction.

Sources: Substance identification system at the French Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT), Drogues Infos Services, the National Association for Alcohology and Addictology Prevention in Normandy and Drugs.gouv.

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