Addiction Help: The Risks of Using Synthetic Marijuana

When the expenses of drugs get too high, addicts resort to finding other solutions. This is true for example of those who are addicted to painkillers. The easy and less expensive option is to switch to heroin, which can go as low as $5 for a small bag.

The same is true for synthetic marijuana. It’s commonly seen as a cheaper version of using the natural marijuana plant to get high. Yet, discovering what’s actually in synthetic marijuana might actually cause some people to stop. It might actually prompt others to seek drug addiction help.

What’s Actually In Synthetic Marijuana?

For instance, spice is a synthetic marijuana product that can be sold legally. The legality of this drug might create confusion in those who use it, believing that because it’s legal it may not cause serious harm. However, the dangers are like any drug that can lead to an addiction: impairment at work, behavioral issues, relationship problems with friends and family, legal problems, and more. Furthermore, although spice is legal, it’s considered a serious drug. It’s classified as a Schedule I drug, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), along with heroin, marijuana, and LSD.

Spice, also known as K2, has similar effects on its users as marijuana. Although it might lead to feelings of euphoria, it can also cause vomiting, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, seizures, and hallucinations. The synthetic version of THC (the compound in marijuana that creates euphoria in its users) was originally created with the intent to use it for medical purposes. However, since then, others have abused the synthetic version, just as they would marijuana.

Making Alterations

The problem with all of this is that makers of synthetic drugs alter them just enough to keep them legal. The name “Bath Salts” is a nickname given to different designer drugs. Designer drugs are those that are made to have similar effects as other illegal drugs, such as marijuana, but have been altered in one way or another. Spice is a designer drug of marijuana. The makers of designer drugs will continue to make alterations to the drug’s ingredients in order to stay one step ahead of the law.  Another name for designer drugs, aside from “Bath Salts” is “Plant Food”.

Barbara Carreno of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says that there are over 400 varieties of synthetic marijuana. A typical manufacturer receives the drug in a potent powder form and dissolves it in acetone to create a liquid. The liquid is then sprayed on plant material and when it dries, it leaves only the chemical, which is then sold to buyers.

Synthetic marijuana varies in its potency but regardless of the kind of high it brings, its health effects are dangerous. Using these fake drugs to save money doesn’t make sense to many people, even those who use the natural plant to get high. However, the appeal to using synthetic marijuana is that it is more widely available in smoke shops, gas stations, and online; it’s cheaper than natural marijuana; and it doesn’t show up in a drug test.

However, many drug labs are changing their tests in order to identify the use of synthetic marijuana as well.

Drug Addiction Help and Treatment

Drug addiction help and treatment for synthetic marijuana is available for those who are struggling with the substance. Research indicates that the majority of users are under 30 years old. In fact, on August 14, 2014 Maggie Hassan, the governor of New Hampshire declared a state of emergency when over 40 people in the state were hospitalized because of the use of synthetic marijuana. Many believe that the effects of the drug will be similar to natural marijuana. However, the effects of using synthetic marijuana can include:

  • Death
  • Increase in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Muscle twitching
  • Agitation
  • Seizures
  • Psychotic episodes
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Kidney damage
  • Paranoia
  • Significant weight loss

It’s clear that the use of synthetic marijuana can bring significant health risks. If you or someone you know is using this drug, contact a mental health professional to end the use of this harmful drug.