Synthetic marijuana – sometimes referred to as Spice, has been on the market since the beginning of the century. These compounds are also referred to as K2. According to a new review of existing studies, specialists are beginning to fear that they are also more dangerous than even originally thought.
They have never been safe.
The compounds create a variety of acute, chronic adverse effects that may initially look like cannabis intoxication, but are not. Further, drugs sold as a “safe” alternative to marijuana are essentially a fraud.
It is a Matter of Biochemistry
Not all drugs are created equal. On top of that, while the effect they may seem to have might be similar, they may be creating the effect in different ways.
The marketing of Spice has been cynical and misleading on top of that.
The first issue, of course, is that marijuana is not inherently “dangerous.” The makers of Spice appear to think that as a result, they can enter the market by offering something as a supposed “alternative.”
Secondly, while these drugs are designed to activate the same two receptors as real cannabinoids (the CB1 and CB2 receptors), and bind to them, they are structurally different than weed. This means the results are different.
Worse, they can be deadly.
Reported side effects of synthetic marijuana compounds include convulsions, kidney injury, heart damage, strokes, and anxiety. There have also been some cases of psychotic reactions. About 20 deaths have been directly linked to Spice consumption.
Many if not most types of synthetic marijuana compounds have been explicitly banned in the United States where this market has flourished.
Why are These Drugs Different?
The first problem with these drugs is that they tend to have more of an effect on the body’s receptors than cannabis. For example, K2 does activate CB1 receptors, but it does so to a greater degree.
Further, when these compounds are broken down in the body, the by-products can also stimulate receptors. This increases not only the impact but potential toxicity of these drugs.
In addition, these drugs tend to affect other receptors.
This is why, it is theorized, the impact of these synthetic drugs can be so intense – and so deadly.
Cannabis, as it turns out, is a naturally balanced drug that breaks down in the body in ways that are positive. Further, the impact of cannabinoids together does not have a toxic effect, nor does their chemical breakdown as they travel through the body.
That is very hard to recreate – even if on purpose. The manufacturers of synthetic pot, however, are not thinking about your safety. They are thinking about their profit.
Synthetic cannabis, in other words, is a chemical bathtub soup, frequently mixed with other smokable substances of unknown origin to make the product in the first place. When you ingest it, you are ingesting all of those chemicals.
Does All Cannabis have to Come from Natural Sources?
There continues to be a great deal of confusion about this. There are in fact synthetic cannabinoid drugs. This starts with dronabinol, which is synthetic THC.
However, here is an important difference. Dronabinol has been synthesized but it has the same chemical structure as actual THC. When ingested, in other words, the body reacts to and breaks down THC and dronabinol in the same way.
Spice, on the other hand, does not have the same chemical makeup of natural cannabinoids. It may stimulate similar receptors. However, the biochemistry of the drugs themselves is different. Some of these chemical compounds have even been shown to have an addictive impact. Withdrawal from them can also be a long and nasty process.
This is what has the negative effects.
In addition to this, the fact that such products are sold at gas stations and even some head shops also promotes an illusion that such products are harmless.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Remember, this is not cannabis you are smoking.
What do I do if I Have a Negative Reaction to Spice?
If you are suffering from negative health effects after taking Spice, get to an emergency room on the double. Be honest with the doctors about what you have taken. If you still have the packet in which your drugs came, bring that. This is a widely known enough issue that emergency room doctors will know what to do.
The best way to avoid the situation in the first place? Don’t use them.