Synthetic Marijuana – What Is It, How It’s Made, Benefits, Effects, Addictiveness and More
A relatively new drug on the street, synthetic marijuana takes the natural powers of cannabis and enhances them with intensities that can only be achieved through synthetic lab processes.
This powerful drug usually offers greater highs than organic strands of marijuana, but it also offers increased health risks as well.
Though synthetic marijuana is intended to mimic the effects of the natural cannabis plant, this man-made drug often causes adverse and risky side effects as well as increased addiction levels.
But if you’re considering taking a hit, it’s important first to understand how exactly this drug works, what makes it different from indica or sativa, and its effects, benefits, and addictiveness.
What is Synthetic Marijuana?
Started as a science experiment by a Harvard graduate and Clemons university professor (somewhat Breaking Bad style), synthetic marijuana is now sometimes referred to as a “designer drug”.
And despite its name, this man-made chemical substance is very different from real marijuana.
While organic plant-grown marijuana like hydroponic weed is non-toxic, largely non-addictive, and there has never been a death reported due to its overdose, synthetic marijuana can often be laced with powerful hallucinogens and lethal narcotics, like methamphetamine, which can cause addiction and severe symptoms if it is not created in a reputable lab.
In fact, a lot of the synthetic marijuana that is sold on the streets comes from places like China, India, and Mexico, making it difficult to understand its purity.
Synthetic marijuana is not a cannabis product, but rather a mixture of chemicals that are sprayed onto plant matter, or whatever other substance the manufacturers can find so that it can be smoked.
Though it does not come from the cannabis plant, it works by affecting the same cannabinoid receptors as THC, but in a much more powerful way.
The results are often an overwhelming high which can cause severe symptoms like vomiting, loss of consciousness, psychosis, and more.
These drugs usually come in packets that are labeled “not for human consumption”, and constantly change their formulas to include new chemicals as the FDA continues to ban various ingredients commonly found in the mixtures.
However, this is one of the things that makes this type of drug so risky, as the effects of the various new chemicals on humans do not have much time to undergo a vetting process before they hit the streets.
Benefits and Effects
Because synthetic cannabis can be created in bulk quantities in a lab, it can be sold relatively cheap, making its affordability one of the draws to this drug.
Also, for those who are experimentally inclined, the gamble of synthetic marijuana and its unpredictable effects offers an adrenaline rush on top of the potency of the drug itself.
Many choose this narcotic when they are looking for something harder than regular marijuana but don’t want to go as far as serious drugs like heroin, cocaine, and meth – however, the risk with synthetic marijuana is that is can be laced with these highly addictive and dangerous drugs.
One benefit that some claim synthetic marijuana offers is that it will not produce positive results for a marijuana drug screening test; however, on the flip side, it can cause you to show positive results for other, more powerful, drug chemicals.
As for the drug’s effects, unlike regular marijuana which commonly gives users a sense of euphoria and relaxation, synthetic marijuana often has adverse effects due to its overpowered potency and an indiscriminate blend of chemicals.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Acute psychosis, panic attacks, paranoia
- Increased heart rate
- Blacking out and loss of vision
- Mood swings
Is It Addictive?
Though most generally agree that natural marijuana is not addictive in the same way that other narcotics like dangerous drugs, alcohol, or even cigarettes are, synthetic marijuana’s addictiveness is still somewhat controversial.
But most experts agree that the drug is addictive – especially when the manufacturers lace the product with potent substances that are supposed to give the user an enhanced high.
How Is It Made?
Though often marketed as an “herbal blend” there is nothing natural about synthetic marijuana. In contrast to regular marijuana that is organically grown from the cannabis plant, synthetic marijuana is created in a lab by mixing a variety of chemicals that affect the body’s cannabinoid receptors (the same receptors that THC affects).
The drug is liquidated into a chemical spray that is then squirted onto plant matter so that it resembles marijuana and can be easily smoked.
The ingredients that go into synthetic marijuana depend on the brand that you choose, as well as the latest tricks to skirt DEA regulations, by taking banned chemicals and slightly altering them.
Most Known Brands
The two most known brands names for synthetic marijuana include Spice and K2. These types of drugs have now been made illegal by the DEA, branding them as a schedule 1 drug.
That hasn’t slowed their sales, however, like synthetic marijuana, as well as other synthetic drugs like bath salts, have been gaining both recognition and infamy in recent years.
Whether the drug is for you, depends on whether you like the thrill of living on the cutting edge, and don’t mind the potential health and addiction risks, or if you’d prefer the relaxing and natural high of organic marijuana.
Photo from Robert Wilson © 123RF.com, Gennadiy Poznyakov © 123RF.com, Dmytro Sidelnikov © 123RF.com.