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06.08.2018 | Original Article Open Access

Synthetic Cannabinoids (SCs) in Metaphors: a Metaphorical Analysis of User Experiences of Synthetic Cannabinoids in Two Countries

International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Zsuzsa Kaló, Szilvia Kassai, József Rácz, Marie Claire Van Hout


New psychoactive substances (NPS) remain a global public health and clinical challenge. Popular NPS include synthetic cannabinoids (SCs). A conceptual metaphorical analysis of user experiences of SCs was conducted in two European countries (Western and Central European). Metaphors are increasingly used to better understand drug user experiences and as medium to inform and guide clinical responses. Semi-structured interviews with 12 SC users were conducted in Hungary (n = 6) and Ireland (n = 6). Thematically segmented texts of SC usage (1) motivation, (2) effects, (3) consequences and (4) the setting were selected. A systematic analysis of conceptual metaphors was conducted on the selected texts. The conceptual target and source domains of the experiences of SC usage (motivation, effects, consequences) were analysed. Four conceptual source domains were found in all of the segmented and analysed narratives of psychological factors (motivations, effects, consequences): change in the vertical perception, perceiving that SC is everywhere, feeling disconnected, recognition of lack of control and identifying the SC as a destroying entity. The conceptual metaphors reflect how users perceive experiences of SC use, the discrepancy between the experience of embodiment and disembodiment. This study provides clinicians with an insight into the experiences of SC motivations, effects and consequences and can be used to inform and guide clinical and therapeutic responses in the support of those recovering from SC dependence.

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