A Talk About The Designer Drug- Synthetic Marijuana: Is It Really Harmful?

A Drug Education Article Presented by Suncoast Rehab

The Designer Drug- Synthetic Marijuana

There is a drug which is rarely tested for – synthetic marijuana (which is commonly called Spice – as well as Zohai, Genie, K2, Bliss, Nice, Smiley, Black Mamba, Incense, and fake weed). The use of this drug is rising among teens and young adults.

But what is synthetic marijuana? It is basically a type of dried leaf (bay leaf, clove, parsley, or a mixture) treated with a set of chemicals which are supposed to mimic THC – the part of marijuana that gets the user high. The drug is easy to obtain online – it is often sold as potpourri, and can even be found in some gas stations, convenience stores, and smoke shops. In fact, there have been recent busts involving synthetic marijuana in counties across Florida.

The components which make up synthetic marijuana have only been made illegal recently and often the potential buyers of the drug are told that it is a “natural” substance. Additionally, to keep the sale “legal”, some dealers will substitute the chemicals used to make Spice with other chemicals, thereby making it more dangerous to take.

NONE of the chemicals used to create synthetic marijuana have been deemed to be safe for human consumption. In fact, one of the chemicals actually creates more negative effects than marijuana, with a lower dose.

Additionally, synthetic marijuana is so new that the tests for Spice are not yet in wide-spread use. The military tests for these chemicals, and the tests are becoming more available for purchase among private companies, but it is hit or miss whether a hospital, police force or school will test for these chemicals. The drug testing companies are working on how to get these tests more widely known about and available.

The effects of synthetic marijuana don’t all mimic those of natural marijuana. Getting high on synthetic marijuana can cause feelings of acute anxiety or paranoia, panic attacks, disassociation, hallucinations, extreme coughing, nausea, vomiting, inability to hold on to a thought, severe brain damage, heart palpitations, psychotic episodes, seizures, tremors, and suicide. Some of the hallucinations have been reported as having a command component to them – where they tell the user to do things. This is often what causes the violent or suicidal tendencies – a command from a hallucination to harm, kill or commit suicide.

Another side effect that has only recently come to light is that synthetic marijuana use can cause serious kidney damage. This drug is so new to the market, that they do not have years of clinical research. Last year 16 people in 6 states suffered severe damage to their kidneys after using the drug (They had no previous history or predisposition to kidney damage, so it is believed that the drug itself caused this damage.). Researchers believe that the kidney issues are caused by a recent additive to synthetic marijuana, called XLR-11.

While it is unknown if synthetic marijuana is addictive, experts believe that it is. Many counselors across the US have talked to teens seeking treatment who – while they did not like the effects of synthetic marijuana – felt the need to continue to take it. Synthetic marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug – which means that it is illegal, and has a high potential for abuse.

If you are hooked on C, or you know someone who is suffering from addiction, contact us today. We have years of experience in helping addicts free themselves from the shackles of addiction. Additionally, our drug-free program is effective when it comes to addiction to any drug. Call us today at 866-572-1788.