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Synthetic marijuana — not natural nor safe

April 10, 2014 11:25 am Published by Comments Off on Synthetic marijuana — not natural nor safe

Part 1: Synthetic cannabinoids – AKA synthetic marijuana, “Spice”, “K2”

This is a two-part series about designer drugs.  See part 2 here.

Synthetic or “designer” drugs, including synthetic marijuana and the group of substances that include “bath salts”, continue to cause problems locally and in the nation.

There is much confusion about the two different “strains” of synthetic drugs that are on the scene. Both are powerful and can be dangerous. In this part, we’ll discuss synthetic marijuana.

Part 1: Synthetic cannabinoids – AKA synthetic marijuana, “Spice”, “K2”

According to Ventura County Limits, synthetic marijuana is made up of a dried mixture of herbs, sprayed with dangerous chemicals meant
to mimic THC — the main mind-altering ingredient found in the cannabis plant.

The effects of smoking synthetic marijuana can be very dangerous. Psychological side effects can include delusions, paranoia, panic attacks, or hallucinations.

The physiological effects have a wide (and very troubling) range. They can include agitation, profuse sweating, increased heart rate and seizures. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report linking synthetic marijuana use and kidney damage. In 2012, six young people developed kidney damage after using “Spice”. 

Even worse, the drug has been linked to many deaths. The strength, danger, and chemical makeup changes from manufacturer to manufacturer, so a user don’t know what — or how much — is going into his or her system.

Kids continue to use the drug. In 2011, one in nine 12th graders in America used synthetic marijuana, and it was the second most frequently used illegal drug among high school seniors, after marijuana.

Efforts to curb sale of, or ban, the drug proves difficult. In 2011, California criminalized the sale and distribution of synthetic marijuana. Selling, possessing, or distributing synthetic marijuana is a misdemeanor.

Screen Shot
Screenshot from the catalog of a currently-operating online “Herbal Incense” retailer

However, “Spice” can still be obtained (often sold over the internet as a “potpourri” or “herbal incense”) and continues to cause a danger to young people.

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