Marijuana use has always been a debate among the general population. However, now we are faced with a much greater threat to public health and safety. Synthetic Marijuana, also widely known as K2 or Spice, is an illegal and dangerous drug. It is responsible for hundreds of overdoses; unsuspecting teenagers and homeless individuals fall victim looking for a cheap high for as little as $5 a bag. In some extreme cases, synthetic marijuana overdoses have led to death.
The Spread of Synthetic Marijuana
Synthetic marijuana has been widely available over-the-counter in head shops and corner stores for years. This unregulated product, as one might expect, physically resembles marijuana and supposedly carries the same or similar effects. However, according to the New York Times, the past few months of 2018 has witnessed a surge of synthetic marijuana overdoses in New York alone, due in part to toxic and defective batches imported from China.
Recently, many states have started to ban the manufacture and sale of synthetic marijuana. This ban has reportedly decreased hospital visits by as much as 85 percent. Still, the problem is nowhere close to solved.
What Makes Synthetic Marijuana So Dangerous?
While it is designed to look and “feel” like marijuana, the effects of synthetic marijuana on the brain are strikingly different than those of natural hemp. In fact, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), users may experience unpleasant symptoms like:
- high blood pressure
- seizures or convulsions
- compulsive or violent behavior
Furthermore, the strength of synthetic marijuana varies so much that it’s almost impossible to determine the potency of any given dose. One batch could be anywhere from one to 800 times more potent than another. According to DEA agent Barbra Roach, the recipes for synthetic marijuana differ depending on the brand, the batch, and even the labs that create them. The uncertainty surrounding the ingredients of synthetic marijuana is part of what makes it such a dangerous substance. For example, a recent statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health detailed the effects of a batch of synthetic marijuana tainted with rat poison circulating across the state. This particular strand of synthetic marijuana has caused at least 56 cases of severe bleeding this year.
The Synthetic Marijuana Epidemic
Misleading marketing has been a contributing factor to this rising epidemic. Synthetic marijuana is often showcased as a “safe” and “legal” alternative to real cannabis. As a result, it has soared in popularity in recent years, especially among teens looking to experiment. Still, like many other illicit drugs, synthetic marijuana is not tested for safety. So, users are completely unaware of the chemicals they are putting into their bodies. Even more disconcerting is that fact that synthetic marijuana is remarkably addictive and potentially life-threatening.
Let’s take a look at the current statistics according to Poison Control.
- 2013: 2,668 reports of exposure
- 2014: 3,682 reports of exposure
- 2015: 7,797 reports of exposure
- 2016: 2,706 reports of exposure
As of May of 2018, poison centers have already reported roughly 953 cases of exposures to synthetic marijuana— and the numbers are steadily rising.
Treatment for Synthetic Marijuana Addiction at Lumiere Healing Centers
As this epidemic continues to spread, so too does the potential for widespread addiction. If you have any questions about synthetic marijuana, addiction, or rehab recovery help, please contact Lumiere Healing Centers today at 513-909-2225. We are available 24/7 to address any concerns you may have.