Shiny packages poisoning teens: The dangers of synthetic marijuana

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In today’s culture, marijuana use by teens is pretty widespread and well known to mainstream culture. It’s a dangerous drug because of the effect it can have on teen brains. However, nowadays, there’s a profoundly dangerous drug camouflaging as marijuana’s cousin: synthetic marijuana. This new drug in town goes by the name of “Spice”, K2, and fake weed, and many more. Unlike marijuana, synthetic marijuana is made of powerful synthetic chemicals called cannabimimetics that can cause seriously dangerous health effects. 

synthetic marijuana

Image source: flickr user- cagrimmett

Why it’s so dangerous

Synthetic marijuana is a drug that is created for the purpose of being abused. It’s made up of nearly one hundred chemicals sprayed onto dried plant materials that impersonate the look of marijuana. These chemicals produce similar effects to marijuana, but are far more dangerous. Additionally, all of the chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana are illegal.

One scary aspect of it is that it’s easily obtainable and cheap. Although it’s illegal to import into the US, the nature of the chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana cause it to be almost impossible to detect when coming into the country.

Health effects

The use of synthetic marijuana by adolescents is steadily increasing. In July 2015, poison control centers in the US documented 4,377 reports of people suffering from the effects of marijuana as opposed to the 3,682 in 2014.

The negative health effects of synthetic marijuana include:

  • rapid heart rate and higher blood pressure
  • nausea and vomiting
  • agitation
  • confusion
  • intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes
  • muscle spasms, seizures, and tremors
  • harmful and suicidal thoughts

In addition to the above symptoms, synthetic marijuana has been associated with causing heart attacks due to a reduction of blood supply to the heart.

Regular users can experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using the drug. So yes, your teen could be addicted to synthetic marijuana. That’s scary, right? What’s even more scary is that we still don’t know all the ways Spice can affect human health or how toxic it can be. That means synthetic marijuana could be even more dangerous than scientists believe it to be.

Helping your teen

If you suspect that your teen is using synthetic marijuana, you need to get help immediately. Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program that takes teens out of their everyday environment and into a wilderness setting. There, they learn life skills such as responsibility, team building, and accountability. The wilderness program, combined with a comprehensive multi-faceted clinical program, helps teens struggling with substance abuse, as well as emotional and behavioral issues.

For more information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303.

 

AUTHOR

Graham Shannonhouse

All stories by: Graham Shannonhouse

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