Shiny packages poisoning teens: The dangers of synthetic marijuana

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. 

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.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


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