Synthetic marijuana is commonly thought of as a cheaper version of natural cannabis. Unfortunately, it is a far more dangerous version than regular marijuana which can have severe, hazardous side effects.
Ingredients of Synthetic Marijuana
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimates over 400 varieties of synthetic marijuana exist. Originally, the drugs came from India and the Middle East and China in powder form which is very potent. A manufacturer receives the powder and dissolves it in acetone to create a liquid solution. This solution is then sprayed on plant material until it dries, leaving only the chemicals behind. The chemicals cannot be given to rats or tested on humans or animals to know the extent of the side effects. Synthetic marijuana is being mixed in feed troughs, cement mixers or on tarps in garages, according to the DEA. A manufacturer prints packaging, inserts plant material and delivers to buyers. Potency is not guaranteed as some is extremely strong while other material may be weaker.
Risks of Synthetic Marijuana
Health risks associated with use of synthetic marijuana vary but they may include:
- Feeling zoned out
- Delayed responses
- Staring into space
- Hallucinations (sometimes lasting as long as 2 weeks)
- Loss of cognitive functions
- Elevated liver functions (a sign of liver damage)
Side Effects of Synthetic Marijuana
Side effects of using synthetic marijuana are very dangerous and may include:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Muscle twitching and agitation
- Psychotic episodes
- Heart attacks and strokes
- Kidney damage
- Weight loss
Reasons for Use
People decide to use synthetic marijuana for various reasons. Some individuals report feeling a more profound ‘high’ than with typical marijuana. One of the main attractions to the drug is that it is cheaper than recreational marijuana and more widely available in smoke shops, online, gas stations or paraphernalia shops. Typically, synthetic marijuana will not show up on a drug test. Synthetic marijuana is not considered fit for human consumption and can have deadly consequences for people who use them.
The target audience for synthetic marijuana use is younger people. Young adolescents tend to view the drug as harmless which creates a difficult prevention problem. Drug addiction can impact every person differently as each individual responds differently to drugs. Neurological development is impacted including the reward center of the brain. Two receptors in the body (CB1 and CB2) are activated by synthetic cannabinoids, the active chemicals in synthetic marijuana. The CB1 receptor is found mainly in the brain but also lungs, liver and kidneys. The CB2 receptor is found mainly in the immune system. Although more research is needed, it is believed long term brain damage and irreversible damage to the body can occur through the repeated use of synthetic marijuana over a long period of time.
If you or someone you love is using synthetic marijuana, Hired Power has resources to help. Contact us at 800-910-9299 for information on how we can help your recovery journey.