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Synthetic Marijuana

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Synthetic Marijuana

spice-icon-27Synthetic marijuana is a chemically made up substance created to mimic the effects of cannabis. These mind altering drugs are marketed as “legal”, “Safe” and “fake weed” however, synthetic marijuana can have much more adverse effects than the use of marijuana because it is unpredictable and its absolute ingredients are unknown. Producers of this synthetic drug often label the drug with names such as K2 and Spice in attempts to make the drug more popular. Additionally, they claim that the products are natural however, all the components are created in laboratories except for the small percent of plant material. According to the government drug abuse publication, synthetic marijuana is intended to copy the effects of illegal drugs while escaping regulations do to constant changes in the chemicals used for production. Spice or K2 can be found hidden in products sold as incense, liquid incense and cigarette fluid. Synthetic cannabis products have a high potential for abuse and according to reports from across the U.S synthetic cannabis was responsible for far more overdose deaths and hospital visits than marijuana. The average Synthetic Marijuana user is between the ages of 12-29.

 Street Names 

Synthetic Marijuana has several street names including K2, Spice, Black Mamba, Bliss, Bombay Blue, Fake Weed, Genie, Zohai, Mary Mack, 2K11, and Potpourri.

Common Forms of Synthetic Marijuana

Depending on the chemical make-up of synthetic marijuana, its form can vary from a leafy plant based looking material to a liquid form. Often, it is sold in packets or in cartridges that are used for e-cigarettes.

Drug Class 

Synthetic Marijuana products are being considered new psychoactive substances in the designer drug class.

The DEA Class of Synthetic Marijuana

 The DEA has temporarily scheduled synthetic cannabinoids into Schedule 1. This was a necessary action even though they can’t pin-point the complete makeup of the drugs. The temporary placement was necessary due to the fact that these drugs are an impending hazard to public safety.

Common Ways Synthetic Marijuana is Used

Users often smoke the dried material or brew it as tea and liquid versions of Spice or K2 can be vaporized into e-cigarettes.

Short Term Effects of Use 

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Paranoia
  • Impaired Mobility
  • Slurred Speech
  • Physical Aggression
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Elevated Blood Pressure

Long-Term Effects of Use 

Synthetic marijuana is proving to be more dangerous every day. With an alarming rate spice/K2 users experiencing a wide range of life changing effects anyone considering use should understand the possible dangers. Users of this drug and studies of addicts show that Spice can cause the following:

  • Kidney damage or failure
  • Stroke
  • Brain Damage
  • Severe Depression
  • Violent Behavior
  • Vital Organ Damage
  • Suicidal Attempts
  • Coma
  • Paralysis
  • Death
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Mental Health complications

The Dangers of Synthetic Marijuana Use

Synthetic marijuana can be used just once and result in life threating complications. In the past few years doctors have been shocked with the amount of young adults and teenagers rushed to the emergency room all exhibiting the same symptoms. They now have reason to believe that strands of designer marijuana are responsible for that. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, in March of 2014 in a span of only two weeks over 100 people overdosed on synthetic marijuana in Louisiana. More recently, in July of 2016, 33 people overdosed on synthetic marijuana in Brooklyn, NY. 

 The dangers of using this drug include:

  • Irreversible cognitive impairment
  • Seizure
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Psychosis
  • Death

Dangers of Mixing of Synthetic Marijuana with other Drugs 

There is danger alone in using synthetic marijuana and whenever anyone uses the drug there is no guarantee what the ingredients are. The user is in danger the moment they take the drug because technically synthetic marijuana is a combination of several drugs. Mixing this drug with any other chemical substance can increase chances of overdose and physical / mental harm extremely.

Synthetic Marijuana Abuse and Addiction

Synthetic marijuana is very much so different than marijuana, and the addiction rates are much higher for the synthetic version than for natural THC. There are over 200 man-made chemicals used in creating synthetic cannabinoids, many of which are highly addictive. Not to mention each batch of synthetic marijuana contains different variations of chemicals causing the body to become dependent on the drug much quicker than with other drugs. Addiction to Synthetic Marijuana also has some of the same precursors that addiction to any drug has for a particular person.  If the individual is genetically predisposed to addiction due to family history and makeup, then they are more likely to become addicted to Spice compared to the average person using the drug in similar amounts.  How often and how much of the drug a person takes during what would be considered their abuse period of the drug plays a big part also.  This is another problem related to the contents of a designer drug like Spice, the potency of the dose a person is taking cold be much higher than they suspect, causing them to feel a deeper craving in between uses of the drug. If you suspect someone you love is abusing synthetic marijuana or if you have been using the drug yourself contact a health care professional as soon as possible and prevent harmful side effects before they are life threatening.

Risk Factors for Synthetic Marijuana Addiction 

  • Being Male
  • Being of Younger age
  • Lack of parental involvement
  • Family addiction history
  • Personal history of substance abuse
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Personal stress or low self-esteem

Treatment for Synthetic Marijuana Addiction

Advances in medicine and treatment techniques over the years, there are many options for patients, therapists, and other addiction specialists to choose from once a person has decided they need help. Drug rehab programs can provide both residential and outpatient treatment plans, as well as group and individual counseling options.  If you or a love one have a problem, don’t wait until things are truly out of control, act now.  Addiction treatment professionals are always ready to provide information even if you are not sure if you are ready to begin treatment.

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