In Drugs & Addictions

The Dangers of Synthetic Marijuana

synthetic marijuana

There are many people who think that synthetic marijuana is a legal substitute to traditional marijuana. As studies have been shown as to the medical benefits of marijuana and public perceptions of marijuana change, more and more people are flocking to the synthetic version as a legal way to get high. However, there are a few things you should know about this substance.

The Many Names it Goes By

There are many names that this goes by. The most common names for this substance include legal bug, K2, spice, smoking incense and synthetic marijuana. There are hundreds of brands that have been produced which the product may be known by such as Blueberry Spice, Genie, Yucatan Fire, Panama Red Ball and many others. This product was first introduced around 2002 and has grown in popularity over the years from people of all ages.

What is Synthetic Marijuana?

It is also important to understand what this substance is. Many think it is a natural form of plants that produce a similar high to marijuana. The truth is that this is not a natural plant. While it may contain some natural herbs and spices, this is not what produces the high. Rather the spice weed is laced with a chemical that is similar in nature to THC, though recently there have been new chemicals added due to certain legislation.

The thing to keep in mind with this is that each brand is different in what it offers. There are many different chemicals used and different herbs that are used. Some contain herbs that are already used in holistic medicine for healing including Egyptian Water Lilly, Indian Lotus and Honeyweed. There have been studies done of certain brands though that claimed to have these ingredients but they really contained nothing more than chemical laced lawn clippings. This is because there is no oversight as to what these products contain.

What many people are outraged to know about synthetic weed is that it can be easily bought by just about anyone. It is found in head shops, gas stations and online. Since it is generally listed as herbal incense or potpourri, there are no age requirements for purchase. There has been some legislation that has been passed on a national and state level that has helped to make it harder for this substance to obtained.

What is K2 High Like?

As there are different products on the market with different substances in them, there are various results that can occur from smoking these substances. Many people say that the high is similar to smoking marijuana though the K2 drug is harsher on the throat and lungs than regular marijuana. This includes elevated mood, relaxation and even a better outlook on the world. However, there are several negative side effects that are worth noting with this drug.

What is K2 Spice Negative Side Effects?

The long term side effects of this are unknown. This is because it is a product that has only been around for a little over a decade. However, some of the negative side effects of this substance have shown that there may be long term effects that are not considered when smoking spice.

There are several negative immediate side effects that people can experience while taking this drug. Just as with marijuana, there is a chance of paranoia, being easily agitated and increased anxieties. It is also known to increase heart rate, sweating and body movements the user cannot control.

There was a report on SpiceAddictionsSupport.org which states that there is a higher rate of psychotic behavior, including hallucinations and a loss of your emotional attachment to things and people. Some people that have used this drug have experienced suicidal or homicidal thoughts while using or shortly after.

Seizures and vomiting have also been known to occur. One way that it is very different in side effects is the fact that it decreases the user’s appetite rather than increasing it. Some people even state that they are not hungry even days afterwards. Unfortunately this drug can be come an addiction for many people.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2010 there were 11,406 emergency room visits associated with people smoking synthetic pot. This was the first report of its kind because there had never been such an issue with this drug before. The study further reported that the most common demographic seen for this substance were young males between the age of 12 and 17. A study done by the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy in 2012 found that 11.3% of high school seniors had tried spice.

You should also know that users of synthetic cannabis go through a withdrawal period when they stop using the substance, even if it was only for a short period of time. which is very different from marijuana users. It is very similar to what people who are on amphetamines go through.

There are several reasons why synthetic cannabis has more negative side effects than marijuana. The creator of this substance did an interview with Forbes magazine where he talked about why this occurs. There are several reasons including:

  • The synthetic is designed to interface differently with the brain so it gives a greater response.
  • There are no quality control regulations or standards in place.
  • The drug is changing as legislation goes into effect
  • It is a higher potency of synthetic THC compared to marijuana, making it easier to overdose.
  • It takes longer to get out of your system than marijuana does

Death From Marijuana Alternatives

There have been cases where people have died after using K2. There are many reasons that this can happen. For many, it is the result of kidney failure or heart attack. This has been seen in many cases. There are many users who end up in a coma before they pass. Death can happen from one time use or from repeated use of synthetic marijuana.

Psychosis can play a role in this as well. It is hard to know actual figures since this drug does not show up on drug tests, such as with a suicide victim. It is unknown the number of suicides or homicides may be the result of people on these substances. Here are a few stories of people who have died from using spice.

Conner Eckhardt

Conner was 19 years old when he tried spice for the first time. This was in August of 2014. He took one hit of the drug and shortly after ended up in the hospital. He was in a coma and died a few days later. His family is trying to raise awareness via social media over this.

Nicholas Colbert

Nicholas was a 19 year old Colorado boy who died from smoking synthetic cannabis back in 2011 in his home. He got the substance from his local gas station and now his mother is suing. She states that the substances in the drug are illegal under Colorado law. She says that one of the main reasons for the lawsuits is to help prevent other people from dying the way her son did.

Chase Burnett

Chase Burnett is a teen who died in 2012 in Georgia. The boy was found drowned in a hot tub with a bag of spice next to him. His parents went after and sued the people responsible for his death. This was the first case where a family went after the distributors of a synthetic cannabis product. There were 12 people arrested for production, sale and distribution of the drug that led to Burnett’s death.

David Mitchell Rozga

David was an 18 year old boy in Iowa in 2010. He had smoked synthetic cannabis with his friends and started freaking out. He told his friends he was going to hell and then said he was going home to sleep. However, when he got home, he grabbed the family hunting rifle and killed himself. This death is what lead to the start of laws to make this drug illegal.

Emily Bauer

Fortunately Emily Bauer is not a fatal story, though it seemed it would be. In December of 2012 the 16 year old girl from Texas was admitted to the hospital after smoking K2. She had been smoking it every day for two week straight. She started out getting migraines. She had a condition called vasculitis, which is an inflammation of the blood vessels causing lack of oxygen to the brain. This caused a stroke that put her into a coma.

Her family took her off life support and expected her to die, but the next morning she awoke. While she is alive, she is in a wheelchair and attending physical therapy. She does not know if she will ever be able to walk again and it took her almost a year to get back into school.

Is Synthetic Cannabis Legal?

This is a tricky question to look at. Up until 2010, this was completely legal in every state. However, due to the many deaths and injuries that began to arise from this, Congress passed legislation banning synthetic marijuana substances on a federal level. States also have been able to put laws in place to stop the sale and use of these substances.

The problem with this legislation is that the substances are changing. When it was first introduced there were only a few chemical compounds that were being used. These were the chemicals that were banned. After this, there were new chemical compounds created that could produce the same or similar reaction and now products are still being laced with these substances. In many states you can still walk into your local convenience store and buy this product at the register without even having to show ID.

There are many people who think that the deaths that are being caused from synthetic marijuana should make legislators pass harsher laws against this substance. Many take this one step further by saying that this is one of the reasons why marijuana should be legalized. These people say that if it is legalized then people, especially young people who have had the highest rate of death with this substance, would be less likely to look for K2.

Why People Choose This Drug

There are several reasons why people start using synthetic marijuana. One of the biggest is that it is easier to get your hands on. You can go online and purchase it and receive it in the mail a couple days later. If you want it right away, you can simply visit your nearest store. For many people this is easier than buying other drugs.

Another reason why people often choose this drug is because it cannot be detected with traditional drug tests. There are specific tests that can be done to find this substance, but they are difficult and many companies and agencies will not use this. For those that are on probation, looking for a job or simply in fear of being caught, this may seem like the best alternative.

A common misconception people have when using this drug is that it is no different than marijuana. This is because it is often marketed as natural or organic. While the plants used are natural, they are sprayed with man made chemicals which are what give the negative reactions to the drug. One manufacturer of K2, called Mr. Nice Guy, was found to be laced with cement and nail polish remover and it was only discovered after an explosion at the warehouse where they were producing it.

What You Can Do

There are a few things you can do to help with this drug. For one, you should talk with your children and friends about this drug. By bringing awareness of this drug and its potential lethal side effects, you may be able to save a life. Also, if you find that a place near you is selling it, report them. If it turns out to be legal, then you can always boycott the store and spread the word about it.

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