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Synthetic marijuana is a man-made substance intended to produce a high similar to that of actual marijuana. synthetic marijuana has been legally available to the public since 2006. This substance has drawn much controversy over its effects and dangers.
Beginning in 2006, synthetic marijuana has been legally available to the public. Recently, there has been a surge in the drug’s popularity. This man-made substance has drawn much controversy over its effects and dangers. With the mixture of herbal substances and toxic chemicals, synthetic marijuana was born. It is thought to produce a marijuana-like high.


Side effects of synthetic marijuana include: difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, heart palpitations, vomiting, confusion, electrolyte abnormalities, hallucinations, delusions of grandeur, panic attacks, seizures and psychosis. In two reported cases, severe hallucinations have led to suicide. Calls to poison control centers regarding the drug have nearly tripled in the past 2 years.

What Are The Harmful Effects Of The Ingredients In Synthetic Marijuana?

JWH-018 The toxic chemicals intended to mimic the effects of THC, such as JWH-018, are extremely harmful. The synthetic chemicals used to duplicate the psychological effects of actual THC are, in reality, almost 5 times more potent. Because of the high potency of the main ingredients, synthetic marijuana bids more readily to cannabis receptors in the brain. This strong bind allows the chemical to stay in the system for a much longer period of time. The chemicals are absorbed by the brain and other organs and stay in the person’s system long after the high has worn off, putting the person at a greater risk for overdose.  

K2 and Spice

There are thought to be 5 different chemicals that result in the products K2 and Spice. These chemicals, like JWH-018 are intended to mimic the effects of THC.  However, what users do not realize is that, unlike traditional marijuana, synthetic marijuana should not be used in conjunction with alcohol. When taken with alcohol, the person will become severely ill.

Additionally, the synthetic THC does not bind to the body’s receptors as quickly as natural marijuana and therefore the person tends to ingest much more synthetic marijuana because he does not “feel” high, thus increasing his chances for overdose. In recent reports, individuals that used Spice were admitted for drug-induced psychotic episodes that lasted for longer than a week, while others were haunted with delusions, paranoia and suicidal thoughts that lasted nearly 3 months.

Why Is Synthetic Marijuana Especially Dangerous For Teenagers?

The adolescent brain is especially susceptible to the drug’s dangerous side effects because it is still under development. The brain of teenagers will continue to grow and develop throughout the adolescent phase and beyond. Because synthetic marijuana binds more strongly to the cannabis receptors of the brain, this poses a problem. Introducing toxic chemicals to a brain that is still developing can inhibit nerve cell development, causing impairments in the ways the nerve cells connect and form patterns.

Though the use of synthetic marijuana is on the rise, new bans on the drug and further education on the dangers of this drug may eventually decrease it’s usage and wipe the product off the legal market. Many people do not take the potential risks seriously because the drug is so readily available and sold in stores. Unfortunately, many people are experiencing horrific side effects, becoming addicted and in some cases dying because of synthetic marijuana. If you or a loved one has a dependency on synthetic marijuana or any other drug, prescription or illegal, there is treatment available.