What Is Synthetic Marijuana?
Synthetic Marijuana, first sold in the US in 2008, has no relation to Cannabis. It is, in fact, plant material sprayed down with artificial chemicals to simulate the effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive chemical that naturally occurs in Marijuana and causes the user to get “high.” This drug is rarely referenced by name on the streets. Rather, it is often referred to as specific brands. Among its many names, it is commonly called:
- Black Mamba
- Fake Weed
- Scooby Snacks
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The Effects of Synthetic Marijuana
Synthetic Marijuana, as it is meant to work, functions similarly to Marijuana. Users have reported feeling:
- Elevated mood
- Altered perception
- Symptoms of psychosis
Being that Synthetic Marijuana doesn’t have natural THC, it makes up the effects with other chemicals. This means that these chemicals could be anything and, without proper regulation, can create any effects.
The relative strength of Synthetic Marijuana could be two to 100 times the concentration of natural Marijuana. This can make the feelings that Marijuana provides greater, but also more hazardous to your health. General negative effects of use include:
- Extreme anxiety
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The Dangers of Synthetic Marijuana
Synthetic Marijuana is frequently marketed as a safe and legal alternative to Marijuana. However, it is anything but. There are no guidelines or regulations over the manufacturers, so they can use any chemicals that aren’t deemed illegal, even if they aren’t safe for human consumption. This puts it in the category of designer drugs.
As of March of 2018, there was a flood of legal Synthetic Marijuana that caused users to find blood in their urine, coughs, and also dripping from their ears and eyes. This was due to the use of brodifacoum, an anti-coagulant and principal ingredient in rat poison. Another blend caused people in Texas to fall into catatonic states where ever they were smoking.
In 2015, there were 7,797 calls to US Poison centers in regard to exposure to Synthetic Marijuana.
164 people across the state of Illinois have been hospitalized after smoking Synthetic Marijuana.
There have been 4 deaths in 2018 from use of Synthetic Marijuana that contains brodifacoum.
Disclaimer for Synthetic Marijuana
Because of the hazardous nature of Synthetic Marijuana, it requires a disclaimer for it to be legally sold:
While this message on the package of every brand should be enough to turn the typical person away. Many companies, brands, and even smoke shops still promote its use. It is popular, especially among young people. Remember, that if something must carry a disclaimer that it should not be consumed, there is probably a good reason for it.
Legal Status of Synthetic Marijuana
In 2011, the DEA used emergency protocols to temporarily schedule some of the substances found in synthetic cannabinoids products. In 2012, President Obama signed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act, permanently placing several classes of drugs, including Synthetic Marijuana, into a Schedule I class of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which is the most restrictive classification.
Each state has also placed various administration actions, prosecution strategies, and regulations for product labeling and branding to either quickly ban synthetic substances in disguise or avoid the sale of products that attempt to advertise as “Synthetic drugs” by claiming they are “not for human consumption.”
Some states have even pushed for new laws that broaden the chemical definitions meant to be outlined in Schedule I, as well as harsher penalties for sale of synthetic products.
Treatment for Synthetic Marijuana Addiction
Synthetic Marijuana’s cocktail of chemicals and simulation of THC’s effects mean that there is no question as to whether the substance is addictive. Without consistent safety guidelines and regulations, two packs of the same brand can be completely different. Their varying chemicals lend themselves to inconsistent experiences and dangerous effects when dosing. So, despite it being legal, it is still highly addictive.
People have died directly and indirectly from the effects of Synthetic Marijuana. Some have been rushed to the hospital after smoking it, while others have actually been attacked by people who have gotten high off it. So, whether is it you or someone close to you, suffering from this addiction can be dangerous. If you believe that you or someone you know suffer from addiction and need help with recovery, then reach out today. There are dedicated treatment specialists waiting to hear from you.
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