Over the past few years, synthetic marijuana (also known as “spice”) has become a major problem in America among high school students and young adults. Smoked in a similar fashion to natural marijuana, spice can have deadly repercussions for the user and is frequently labelled, “unsafe for human consumption.” Here’s the lowdown on this designer drug.
Synthetic Marijuana: Everything You Need to Know
It Was Created in a Lab in the 1970s
Spice was originally created during laboratory research to learn more about the cannabinoid receptors in the body and it was never intended for human consumption.
Spice is More Common Than You’d Think
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the chemicals in spice are harder to detect than marijuana in drug tests and it’s the second most used illegal drug (behind marijuana itself).
It’s Quite Different From Real Marijuana
The mere fact that it is called “synthetic marijuana” bothers weed advocates because its chemical make-up is nothing like that of actual marijuana. Spice consists of non-cannabis herbs sprayed with lab-created chemicals.
Spice is More Powerful Than Actual Marijuana
The potency of the synthetic cannabinoid depends on its chemical compounds. Some of those compounds can be up to 25 times more powerful than THC. There have been reports of seizures, hallucinations and convulsions, as well as negative psychological effects.
Synthetic Marijuana is Addictive
Spice addiction is often characterized by a physical dependence (tolerance and/or withdrawal), coupled with a psychological craving for the drug.
Its Creator Warns Against Using it
John W. Huffman, the scientist who is often credited with creating synthetic marijuana, cautions that the drug is unsafe for human consumption. To counter misinformation, he devised a boilerplate statement describing his research and warning against consuming synthetic marijuana in 2011.
It Sends People to the ER
Hundreds of users across Alabama, Mississippi and New York have recently been admitted to emergency rooms with severe symptoms after using spice. Seizures, hallucinations, and psychosis are among the list—including cases of death.