What Is Synthetic Marijuana And What Are The Risks?

Written by Chloe Nicosia

What Is Synthetic Marijuana And How Dangerous Is It?

A lot of Americans who were unaware of synthetic marijuana and its dangers are waking up to news headlines detailing the deaths it has caused. Since March 7, 2018, the Indiana Department of Health reported 164 cases of synthetic marijuana illness including four deaths. Between March 10, 2018, and April 2, 2018, 56 people have been hospitalized in Illinois from the use of synthetic marijuana. Two people died.

What Is Synthetic Marijuana?

If you have asked, “What is synthetic marijuana?” the answer is scary. Synthetic (man-made) marijuana is made by spraying chemicals on shredded plant material that can then be smoked. It can also be purchased in a liquid form to put in e-cigarettes, vaporized, and used in other types of inhaler devices. The products are then sold as herbal or liquid incense. Brand names are many and include K2, Black Mamba, Spice, Zohai, Skunk, Moon Rocks, Potpourri, Green Giant, Red Giant, Kick, Trippy, Genie, and many more. The packaging is usually brightly colored and eye-catching. The chemicals sprayed on the shredded materials are referred to as cannabinoids due to a similarity to chemicals found in the marijuana plant.

Touted as being a safe alternative to marijuana, these products are anything but. They can cause dangerous and life-threatening side effects. The effect on the brain is stronger than that of marijuana, unpredictable, and far more sinister. Some cities and states have enacted laws banning the sale of synthetic marijuana, but it is still very easy to obtain and inexpensive. New psychoactive substances (NPS) are not regulated and mimic the effects of illegal drugs, but they are very dangerous.

Synthetic Weed Side Effects

Synthetic weed side effects can be dangerous and fatal. Synthetic cannabinoids have been declared dangerous and addictive by government agencies and leading health organizations. People using synthetic weed, such as Spice or K2 are at a far greater risk of experiencing adverse effects. Some of the dangerous side effects include the following:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Hypertension
  • Myocardial ischemia
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Severe anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Aggression

Psychotic events such as hallucinations and paranoia have been reported. Physical dangers include kidney failure and heart attack. Due to reduced blood flow to the heart (myocardial ischemia), synthetic weed side effects can include severe and ongoing heart conditions. Frequent use can also lead to seizures.

Synthetic Weed Deaths

In Lancaster county PA, 158 people were treated for Synthetic weed overdose in just one week. Between January and May of 2015, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported 15 synthetic weed deaths. In Chicago, this year, there has been two synthetic weed deaths and 70 cases of severe bleeding due to its use. Testing showed that nine of the patients tested positive for the rat poison, brodifacoum, which is a blood thinner. All the patients were suffering from bleeding gums, nose bleeds, blood in urine, and blood in sputum.

The numbers of overdose are steadily increasing, and due to the damage, it causes to the lever and heart, death from a heart attack or other damage can occur sometime after the initial use. The next use can be the last use because of dangerous and disastrous results. If you have seen bright colored packages with strange names in your teenager’s bedroom, you need to get them checked out right away. The packages will probably say “not for human consumption” or “incense.” You may find synthetic marijuana being sold in gas stations, convenience stores, and online.

If you suspect your child is using synthetic marijuana, call Better Addiction Care (BAC) at 1.800.429.7690. BAC is a free referral service that connects addiction treatment facilities to the people that need the very best care. Your child’s life is at stake if he or she is experimenting with synthetic weed. Contact BAC today and get your child into life-saving treatment.