The Effects of Synthetic Marijuana Abuse and Addiction
Synthetic cannabis was originally made for research purposes only. Its creator, John W. Huffman has stated that he could not imagine anyone trying it as a recreational drug because of its high toxicity. He went on to say that using spice would be similar to playing Russian roulette. Even so, the use of synthetic marijuana is increasing by the day. Although it’s been made illegal in most areas, this drug can still be found on the streets, in shops and online.
What is synthetic marijuana?
Synthetic marijuana has been marketed as a legal high and has hundreds of different names including K2, Spice, Yucatan Fire, Bliss, Blaze, Skunk, Moon Rocks, and JWH-018, -073 and more. As appealing as these names may sound, they are in no way, shape or form similar to the natural herb marijuana. Spice contains powerful chemicals called cannabimimetics. These have been made in a lab and are designed specifically for abuse. Synthetic marijuana is not tested for safety, and can compromise of a wide assortment of other toxic chemicals. From January, 2015 to the middle of August 2015, United States poison centers received reports of 5,369 exposures to synthetic marijuana.
Synthetic marijuana resembles an herbal tobacco or potpourri. It is often found in packages which are being sold as incense or room deodorizers and often comes with a warning that it is not for human consumption. This is just a legal way to protect these companies from the serious effects of the drug known as spice.
Synthetic marijuana, or incense, is smoked in a joint or bong. As e-cigarettes gain in popularity, synthetic marijuana can now be bought in a liquid form, but it is just as dangerous.
Why People Abuse Synthetic Marijuana
The core reason people use spice is because it is relatively easy to access and labeled as being “all natural”. Some users will also abuse synthetic marijuana because it does not show up in drug testing. Furthermore, the effects after using include elevated mood, relaxation and altered perception. Paul Prather, professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences says, “Its potency can be up to one hundred or more times greater than THC”.
How does spice affect the brain?
At the time, there have been no scientific studies of the effects of synthetic marijuana. What is known is that K2 acts on the same cell receptors in the brain as the naturally occurring THC compound. The difference is that there are other compounds in synthetic marijuana which bind “stronger” to these receptors. Therefore, the effects can be more powerful and even unpredictable. Finally, because the composition of each synthetic marijuana product varies, it is highly plausible that many mixtures contain a number of compounds which will affect the brain and body in a different way.
The Short Term and Long Term Effects of Smoking Synthetic Marijuana
Apart from the so-called pleasurable effects noted above, some users have reported paranoia, anxiety, delirium and hallucinations. Moreover, overdosing on the drug is possible. However, it is nothing like overdosing on marijuana, and resembles more of an overdose on meth. Users will become extremely agitated, irritable, angry, violent or suicidal. Using can increase blood pressure levels and cause reduced blood supply to the heart. If this is not addressed, it could lead to a heart attack. A frequent user can build a tolerance and dependence. When quitting, or not using, they will likely experience withdrawal symptoms.
Unfortunately, there is not very much known about long term or permanent effects of abusing synthetic marijuana. It is widely agreed that it could cause cellular damage, poor cognitive skills, memory problems and organ damage.
Getting Treatment at a Rehab for Synthetic Marijuana
Withdrawing from synthetic marijuana is hardly comfortable. Many abusers of the drug have reported extreme vomiting and diarrhea, lack of appetite, sharp muscle pains, unable to concentrate, insomnia, nightmares, tremors, shaking, depression, violent thoughts and drastic mood swings. Because the effects are so strong, it is advisable to seek the help of a synthetic marijuana treatment center.
With an individualized treatment program, monitored detox and therapeutic interventions, an addiction to synthetic marijuana can be beat. The valuable tools, techniques and support will allow the user to be able to overcome obstacles and challenges they may face once back at a home. Ultimately, a user can move onto to a happy, sober life.
Abuse and addiction of spice can be detrimental, even lethal. The longer the dependency goes untreated, the more the chances of developing serious issues which affect both the user and those around them.
Serenity Thailand Rehab is a leading drug and alcohol treatment center in Thailand. As a private, affordable rehab facility, we are equipped to handle addictions to synthetic marijuana and other drugs. Our 1:1 staff to patient ratio, small group settings, qualified Western staff members and comfortable environment will help a person to overcome their addiction to spice.
If you or someone you know is abusing synthetic marijuana and needs the assistance of a rehab facility, please contact us today to find out how we can help.