Synthetic marijuana, which is also called Spice or K2, is a chemically modified variant of herbal marijuana which produces mind-altering effects similar to marijuana, but with much more potency.
This new drug is commonly sold in head shops, gas stations, and on the internet and is marketed as incense or potpourri and labeled “not for human consumption.” This loophole allows the substance to be sold legally and is promoted as being a “safe” and legal alternative to marijuana.
How to identify the drug
Like most drugs, there are a variety of names used to identify the substance being sold to consumers. This can be especially confusing, since it is usually sold as a type of incense, or potpourri.
Other names for the drug include:
- Black Mamba
- Could 9
- Moon Rocks
- Yucatan Fire
- Herbal Incense
- Fake Weed
Synthetic marijuana effects and abuse
Many young people are drawn to spice because they believe it is safer than regular marijuana, or that they won’t face legal consequences for purchasing it because it’s sold legally. Additionally, the drug doesn’t show up on most drug tests, making it an appealing alternative for people worried about being caught using drugs.
The effects of synthetic marijuana are similar to those of marijuana, which include feeling calm and relaxed, and experiencing an altered perception of reality. The ingredients in each batch vary wildly, and there’s no way to track how much of various ingredients are in each individual batch, because it’s not regulated. Because the drug is not intended to be ingested or smoked, using it in this way is considered abuse.
What are the side effects of synthetic marijuana abuse?
Because the ingredients in the drug are not meant for human consumption, users can experience a variety of symptoms, including:
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Excessive sweating
- Kidney damage
Signs of synthetic marijuana addiction
Continued abuse can lead to psychological and chemical dependence on the drug, which can have long-lasting negative physical and psychological implications. Users may exhibit any of the following signs relating to their drug use:
- Time spent trying to acquire the substance
- Cravings to use again
- Problems with relationships
- Loss of interest in other activities
- Continuing use despite persistent psychological or physical problems
- Withdrawal symptoms when not using
Getting treatment for synthetic marijuana addiction
As with all mind-altering substances, it is possible to become addicted, especially after engaging in frequent and heavy abuse. Regular users may experience withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop, and many users who attempt to quit using experience withdrawal symptoms including nausea, diarrhea, anxiety, feeling irritable, mood swings, and cravings.
Because of the severity of these symptoms it can be extremely difficult for users to safely inhibit use and actually begin to wean themselves off of the drug. In order to avoid relapses, which can cause heart attacks and kidney failure, it’s best to seek professional help.
Overcoming an addiction can be successful with the help of a reputable drug treatment facility, seeking behavioral therapy, counseling, and other proven treatments.
If you or someone you love is struggling with synthetic marijuana abuse, call us at 877-284-0353 to start getting help today.