Synthetic cannabis and synthetic marijuana are just as dangerous as illicit drugs. Not only can you develop physical or psychological Spice dependence, but you can also experience hallucinogenic effects. Here, we explore the dangers of synthetic marijuana and how to help Spice addiction. Plus, more on how the drug is produced, what its effects are and why it has become so popular. Then, we invite your questions about the dangers of synthetic cannabis at the end.
Synthetic cannabis: what are you smoking?
Synthetic drugs have been in the news lately and, unfortunately, on many store shelves. Because they are not seen by many as being “real” drugs, sometimes it is assumed that synthetic cannabis products are safer than other drugs but this is wrong. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), chemical analysis has proven that there are hidden chemicals in these synthetic drugs that are not printed on the ingredients label, meaning people don’t really know what they are smoking or ingesting with these drugs.
The synthetic marijuana brand also known as “Spice” is created by manufacturing synthetic cannabinoids that mimic the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the substance in marijuana that produces the desired high. When the synthetic cannabinoids are sprayed on dried herbs, it creates something akin to naturally occurring marijuana. But it can be specifically created to produce a high 15 times more powerful than natural pot.
Effects of synthetic cannabis
The high of synthetic marijuana is similar to that of regular marijuana, including elevated mood, relaxation, altered perception and in some cases extreme anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations. The cannabinoid compounds in synthetic marijuana act much the same as regular marijuana, binding to cell receptors in the body but some of the compounds found in synthetic marijuana have been found to bind much more strongly.
Dangers of synthetic cannabis
More frightening, though, is that because the major known compounds in synthetic marijuana are being banned in many areas, producers are trying new chemicals that aren’t technically banned yet and these unknown compounds could cause drastically different effects on the body.
Smokers of synthetic marijuana have been taken to Poison Control Centers to be dealt with and have reported symptoms including: rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion and hallucinations. It can also lead to raised blood pressure, reduced blood supply to the heart and has, in a few cases, been associated with heart attacks.
The demand for synthetic marijuana is increasing
NIDA has found that synthetic marijuana is second only to actual marijuana in popularity among high school students and this is so due to the erroneous assumption that it is safer than other drugs and the false belief that the psychoactive effects are produced naturally and therefore are deemed to be harmless. It has also gained popularity because it is difficult to pick up in standard drug tests.
What do you think?
Please send us your questions, comments or responses about the growing epidemic aurrounding use of synthetic cannabis. We try to respond to all questions personally and promptly.