Synthetic Cannabis, commonly known as K2 or Spice, is a relatively new drug that first made its appearance in the early 2000’s and was marketed as a legal and natural substitution for marijuana. Since then, the drug has become a growing concern for parents, as more and more teenagers begin to experiment with the synthetic chemicals. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, more than 11 percent of high-school seniors have tried a synthetic marijuana at least once. (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
Because synthetic cannabis side effects can be quite severe, the active chemicals in fake marijuana products have been banned by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and were recently classified as Schedule I controlled substances. However, the product is still on the market because manufacturers simply replace the chemicals in their mixture and market them under different names such as Spice, K2, Black Mamba, Yucatan Fire, Moon Rocks, and others.
Many teenagers and young adults gravitate toward synthetic weed because they believe that the product provides a safe, natural, and legal alternative to regular weed. However, these products do not use natural ingredients and are largely untested and unregulated by any governmental organization, which can make the side effects of synthetic cannabis both different and stronger than those most people experience with marijuana.
Most Common Synthetic Cannabis Side Effects
There have been few, if any, extensive studies on Synthetic Cannabis. However, we do know that the active ingredients in the drug cause a marijuana-like effect by acting on the same cell receptors as THC. Synthetic Marijuana is thought to have a much stronger effect on the body than natural weed, and in certain cases has caused serious damage to the brain (Oregon Health & Science University). There are a wide array of side effects (FBI) that go along with the consumption of synthetic cannabis—some of which can be life-threatening.
Here is a list of a few of the most common ones.
- Extreme anxiety
- Increased heart rate
- Myocardial ischemia (reduced blood flow to the heart)
- Risk of kidney failure
- Heart attack (in a few cases)
False Marketing and Dangerous Side Effects
Synthetic Cannabis can be a powerful drug with extreme side effects, and unfortunately its biggest users are teenagers and young adults. Fake weed products are a relatively new drug category that has gone largely untested over its first decade of existence. The drug is created from harmful chemicals, but is marketed as a natural and safe alternative to weed. Educating your children about the risks and possible side effects of using the drug can be the first line of defense in stopping teenagers from consuming the harmful product, but if you discover that they are using it, it’s vital to get them into treatment.
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