It goes by many different names – Spice, K-2, No More Mr. Nice Guy, Black Mamba, Bliss, Blaze, Skunk, Moon Rocks, and many more. Formulated for research purposes, synthetic cannabinoids – popularly known as synthetic marijuana – are often sold in retail outlets, gas stations and via the internet as herbal incense products or potpourri. It is said to be the second most frequently used illegal drug among young people after marijuana in the United States.
What is synthetic marijuana?
It’s important to make a clear difference between synthetic and natural marijuana. Not only do they differ chemically, they exhibit extremely different side effects.
Synthetic marijuana is a psychoactive substance produced with artificial chemicals to mimic the effects of marijuana. It is a blend of different plants and herbs mixed with man-made mind-altering chemicals called cannabinoids because they are related to the chemicals found in the marijuana plant. It is also referred to as “fake weed” as the dried plant materials are the only parts of the products that are natural.
According to Spice Addiction Support, “synthetic cannabinoids are produced as an oil or a crystalline powder that can easily be sprayed on plant material or any other low cost garbage the manufacturers can get away with to create a product that can be smoked and provide some kind of high.”
How it impacts the brain?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that the effect of synthetic marijuana on the brain receptors may be unpredictable and diverse from the effect of THC found in natural marijuana. Although, there have been only a few studies so far regarding synthetic marijuana and its influence on brain cells, researchers have concluded that the effects are more intense and random, simply because of the chemical composition of synthetic cannabinoids. Some of the common symptoms associated with abusing synthetic marijuana are:
- High blood pressure
- Blurred vision
- Heart attack
- Severe paranoia
- Severe anxiety
Apart from these common symptoms, there are those which are very similar to symptoms of hardcore drug addiction:
- Extreme cravings
- Extreme agitation
- Psychotic episodes
- Sweating and loss of control
The fact that using synthetic marijuana can be unpredictable and even life threating, along with causing addiction, it’s important to raise awareness of these effects in order to prevent usage of this dangerous drug. Because the drug is sold as a “legal alternative to marijuana”, many people assume there is no risk of addiction to synthetic cannabinoids. However, this is not the case. Anyone can get addicted to these man-made mind-altering chemicals in just a few weeks of regular use, reports Spice Addiction Support.
The government has taken steps to stop the menace of these life-threatening substances. The Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act is part of the FDA Safety and Innovation Act of 2012, signed into law by President Barack Obama. If you or someone you know is dealing with substance abuse problems, the Florida Detox Helpline is available 24 hours a day, offering both information on addiction as well as referrals to effective detox programs. Please contact us via online chat or at 855-920-9869. An addiction-free life can start today.