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Reefer Madness-The Problem With Synthetic Marijuana

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Since the year 2006, synthetic marijuana has been slowly growing in popularity. It is commonly marketed under names like K2, Spice, Black Mamba, Blaze, and Red X Dawn. It was initially hailed as the next legal high by marijuana enthusiasts. Although, it is marketed as an incense, many are abusing the substance because It recreates the effects of marijuana without the risk of getting in trouble with the law. Unfortunately, just because this substance is legal and others are smoking it, does not mean that it can be trusted and is safe for consumption or that substance abuse can’t occur.

Reefer Madness

During production, the substances are sprayed with chemicals that produce a similar feeling to the psychoactive properties of THC. Unlike regular marijuana, though, synthetic pot cannot be taken with alcohol without making the individual using it violently sick. The DEA notes that since these synthetic substitutes are not manufactured in a safe and regulated environment, their purity and dosage are not controlled and can potentially be very dangerous. Synthetic marijuana is commonly sold at tobacco shops and gas stations, and is usually marketed under the disguise of tea, incense, or herbs.

Synthetic Marijuana vs. THC

Another major difference between marijuana and these synthetic compounds is the fact that regular THC doesn’t stay in a person’s system for very long, whereas, the chemicals used to make K2 and Spice are stronger and bind more permanently to receptors in the brain and body. They are also not as quick to bind to receptors in the body as THC, which means that there is a pronounced risk of overdosing as users consume more of the synthetic drug due to the fact that they can’t instantaneously experience the high. While chemicals in synthetic marijuana mimic the effects of THC, they are very different.


A recent news story reported that ten individuals were admitted to a poison control center in California for treatment for psychosis brought on by the abuse of synthetic marijuana. Many of these people came into the facility experiencing feelings of paranoia, delusions, and suicidal thoughts that persisted for weeks. What makes this new substance even more attractive to individuals is the fact that it cannot yet be detected by normal drug tests, although, more are starting to be made.

Health Risks

Since these compounds have only been around since 2006, their long-term side effects have not been extensively researched to the point that scientists know what will happen to the health, both mental and physical, of a long time user. However, acute side effects of fake marijuana have been known to cause trouble breathing, heart palpitations, panic attacks, hallucinations, vomiting, and seizures. There have also been a few reported cases of suicide that have resulted from hallucinations.

People are always looking for the next legal high. However, often times these substances are extremely dangerous because of the fact that nobody knows what is in them or how safely they are being produced. Adding to the problem is the fact that none of these new substances have had any long term studies done on the effects of use. If you or someone you know has used any of these synthetic products, it would be wise to seek help at a Florida rehab center as quickly as possible.

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