Synthetic Marijuana Addiction

Synthetic Cannabinoid called 'Spice'

Synthetic marijuana is a name given to brands of manmade chemical compounds that are very similar to cannabis. Until recently these substances were sold in smoke shops and labeled as incense. Both national and local governments have moved to make these substances illegal to sell and also for use. Studies are still being done on the addictiveness of this substance, but early indications are that it is highly addictive and has serious withdrawal effects. The National Institute on Drug Abuse also shares a number of drug facts on synthetic cannabinoids.

What is Synthetic Marijuana?

Synthetic cannabinoids are man-made compound and intended to act as an alternative to regular marijuana. However, it defers in its chemical makeup. Synthetics are sprayed onto unknown plant material to be smoked, or the chemical liquid is used as a vapor with e-cigarettes. The dangers of this practice are the unknown factors of what exact chemicals are being used in the compound.

*Brand Names of Synthetics
  • Spice
  • K2
  • Joker
  • Black Mamba
  • Genie
  • Bliss

Synthetics are often marketed as a legal and safe alternative as opposed to marijuana. The original common brand names of these substances were called 'Spice' and 'K-2'. This has evolved into many others brands and names*. The labeling on synthetic marijuana very clearly states 'not for consumption'. These are merely words since the intent of the substance is to be smoked very similarly to marijuana and to absolve the manufacturers of responsibility. While it is unknown where these products are manufactured, evidence points to online markets from China and herbs found in Central America.

How does it affect the Brain?

Synthetic products interact with the brain in a very similar way to marijuana. The substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) attaches itself to receptors in the brain creating a relaxed state and altered perceptions. With the newness of this substance, definitive studies and research is still yet to be produced on its impact on the brain. Some studies have indicated that some formulations have stronger THC compounds.

The dangers of synthetic cannabinoids are with the unknown formulation of chemical compounds. The user is at their own risk and may ingest something that may be dangerous or even more habit forming in these formulations.

Health Effects of Synthetics

Another danger of using synthetic marijuana is in its many negative health effects. People can experience different psychotic behaviors such as paranoia, hallucinations and extreme anxiety. Other reported emergency room reactions include:

  • Rapid Heart Rate
  • Violent Behaviors
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Kidney Damage
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal Ideation

The severe health risk with regular use of synthetic cannabinoids is addiction. The brain becomes dependent on the use / abuse of the drug. People who try to stop taking the substance can experience withdrawal. Some of the withdrawal symptoms that have been reported are:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depressive Episodes
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Sweating

Addiction Treatment for Synthetic Cannabinoids

Treatment can involve a detoxification process and monitoring to address any and all withdrawal symptoms that may arise. Since this is a new substance, research has not indicated the best approach of behavioral therapies or addiction treatments yet. Still the approaches of an integrated drug rehabilitation program are likely to be effective in treating those struggling with this kind of addiction. This should include dual diagnosis to address the mental disorders that can coexist with drug addiction.

Individuals who feel they may be addicted to synthetic cannabinoids can consult with their medical professionals, or can contact addiction treatment providers for a proper assessment and enrollment. We encourage you to call us at Cirque Lodge. We look forward to helping you or your loved one with a caring and effective addiction treatment program. 1-800-582-0709, help is just a phone call away.