Synthetic Cannabinoids refer to an increasingly growing new fad among young drug users who are looking to achieve a chemically induced high similar to marijuana. These drugs appeal to users who are unable to get high on conventional drugs that show up on drug tests, since they do not routinely test for these substances. These drugs are artificially manufactured by chemists using chemical compounds that sidestep federal laws.
How are these Drugs Administered?
These drugs are typically sprayed on plant materials resembling marijuana and then smoked. Manufacturers package the materials in shiny tin foil pouches labeled for use as incense only. Other popular mechanisms for administration come in the form of vaporizing the concentrated extract sold as a e-liquid cartridge for vapes. As it stands currently there are a litany of these drugs on the market and they continue to pop up at an alarming rate. The following are just some of the synthetic cannabinoids:
- Cloud 9
- Black Mamba
Where are They Sold?
Synthetic cannabinoids are usually for sale at gas stations, head shops, novelty stores and mainly on the Internet. Since the chemicals used in these compounds are so addictive and without any medicinal attributes, authorities have deemed them illegal in most states. However manufactures are able to circumvent prosecution mainly by tweaking their chemical formulas just slightly so as to be an entirely different compound, yet with the same deleterious effects.
The catchy and misleading marketing by these companies as safe and “natural,” has perpetuated the illusion that these drugs can be consumed without harm, and may even be healthy. Serious and severe health scares have been occurring as a result of overdose on these substances, with hospital visits increasing exponentially over the last several years.
What are the Symptoms of Synthetic Cannabinoid Abuse?
Synthetic Cannabinoids interact with the same areas of the brain that respond to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the ingredient that causes the psychoactive effects of marijuana. Research on these substances has been spotty due to the wide range of effects and differing potency of various brands being sold to the public. One brand of synthetic cannabinoids can have somewhat mild effect on a user, while another could set off a psychotic episode in someone else. The unpredictable nature of these drugs is perhaps one of the scariest aspects of synthetic cannabinoids. On the low end of the spectrum some of the more mild effects, similar to marijuana as reported by users are as follows:
- Elevated mood
- Altered perception
On the more dangerous side of the coin, some users have reported more terrifying effects such as:
- Deranged Psychosis
What are the Health Consequences?
Emergency room visits are something have been quite a quite commonplace occurrence with regards to synthetic cannabinoids. Some of the behavior exhibited by the victims include:
- Tachycardia (Elevated heart rate)
- Violent behavior
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Temporary loss of sensation to pain
- Kidney Damage
As you can see here from the long list of adverse side-effects the risk in experimenting with these substances is simply not worth it and may even end up claiming your life.
Addictive or Not?
Synthetic Cannabinoids are highly addictive and users have reported some very scary withdrawal like symptoms associated with sudden cessation. People who try to discontinue suddenly report some of the following unpleasant symptoms:
There is currently no known accepted behavior modification programs or treatment programs designed to specifically treat addiction to synthetic cannabinoids. However the same premise behind rehab and recovery principles applies to any and all substances people abuse to get high and may be extremely beneficial to anyone looking to seek help for an addiction to synthetic cannabinoids like Spice and K2. Bottom line: if you have an addiction to drugs and alcohol get help.