Synthetic Marijuana Facts
Synthetic marijuana is very different from marijuana. Called by names like Spice, K2, No More Mr. Nice Guy, and hundreds of others, the drugs contain powerful chemicals that can cause dangerous health problems. Often sold at small retail stores or via the Internet, synthetic marijuana use is risky, with unknown long-term effects.
The onset of the drug after use is three to five minutes and the duration of the high is one to eight hours. Users may experience severe paranoia, delusions, hallucinations and increased agitation. Short-term effects of using synthetic marijuana include loss of control, lack of pain response, pale skin, seizures, vomiting, profuse sweating, uncontrolled-spastic body movements, elevated blood pressure, heart rate and palpitations.
Synthetic marijuana is made up of chemicals primarily manufactured in China with no quality control, no dosing instructions and limited or often inaccurate information about their contents. These chemical compounds are often sprayed onto various types of herbs and sold as “potpourri” that is “not for human consumption.” There is an expanding array of synthetic cannabinoids available with fifty-one new synthetic cannabinoids identified in 2012, compared to just two in 2009.
According to the 2012 survey of youth drug-use trends, one in nine 12th graders in America reported using synthetic marijuana in the past year. This puts synthetic cannabinoids as the second most frequently used illegal drug among high school seniors after marijuana.
Here are a few realities to consider before using Spice:
• You cannot predict the effect that a drug can have on you—especially if it is the first time you try it and even if it is a small amount or dose. Everyone’s brain and body chemistry are different. Everyone’s tolerance for drugs is different. The chemicals in each batch are different. One dose can have no effect or cause death or anything in between.
• Using drugs can lead to abuse, addiction, serious health problems, and even death.
The more informed you are, the more confidently you can make the right decision about drugs. Children and young adults need to be taught that marijuana and synthetic marijuana are not the same thing, and legal does not mean safe. Warn others about this growing use of synthetic marijuana among our youth and help educate young people about the dangers.
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