Synthetic marijuana kills thousands because there is a marijuana lookalike on the market known as K2, Spice, Darkness, or synthetic marijuana. It has dubious legality because it is a new drug and therefore it is not yet explicitly prohibited by law, but in many localities law enforcement is cracking down on it anyway. Unlike actual cannabis, so-called synthetic marijuana has been the cause of several cases of overdosing, injuries caused by erratic behavior, and other major problems for law enforcement and marijuana advocates alike. Many people don’t die and end up in the hospital from synthectic marijuana
Here is what you need to know about synthetic marijuana and how it is different from real marijuana.
1. It’s not marijuana. The drug is called synthetic marijuana to get people to believe that it will have the same effects and benefits as real marijuana. The people who make this drug try to get users to believe that it is a legal substitute for marijuana and that it is basically a lab-created equivalent of cannabis.
So-called synthetic marijuana is a group of chemicals that are supposed to act on the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors, the way THC does. The problem is that there are many chemicals that can act this way, and there is absolutely no regulation on which chemicals are being used to create the THC-like response within your brain. Therefore there is no way of knowing what else might happen to you and what other side effects you might experience.
While the actual drug has nothing to do with marijuana except the name and the purpose to act on endocannabinoid receptors, manufacturers and dealers do everything they can to make it seem like real marijuana. They will even go to the extent of spraying the chemicals on dried up plants to make you feel like somehow you are getting the closest thing to the real thing. This is absolutely false advertising, and it increases the dangers of synthetic marijuana even more because you have no idea what actual plant you are smoking along with your mystery THC-like chemicals.
2. It’s dangerous. Actual marijuana does not have a lethal overdose level. You can take as much as you want and you might feel absolutely as sick as a dog, or you might feel inspired to go out and do something really stupid like jump off a four story balcony, but you will not die from the overdose. (We cannot guarantee your safety if you jump off a balcony, though. Please keep your feet firmly on the ground and away from traffic.)
Synthetic marijuana, on the other hand, has actually hospitalized people simply from its side effects. While no one seems to have died yet, several people have had to be revived at hospitals, meaning that they would have died if doctors had not come in with a crash cart and essentially brought them back from the banks of the river Charon and arrests for synthetic marijuana are happening. Some of the side effects you might experience rapid heartbeat and dangerously high blood pressure.
3. It makes you do dangerous things. Real marijuana has caused cases of people seeming to gain delusions of immortality and therefore putting themselves in dangerous situations. And while real marijuana does significantly impair driving abilities, so if you get behind the wheel while you are high, you put yourself and others in severe danger. However, the effects of smoking marijuana or eating a pot cookie are far more likely to make you eat an entire bag of pizza rolls than to cause completely psychotic behavior, like after you ingest synthetic cannabis you become a zombie.
4. It may actually be methamphetamine. There is no way to know for certain what chemicals are in any given batch of synthetic marijuana. It is basically up to the manufacturer to tell you the truth. With genuine marijuana, there are ways you can check the quality of the product you are getting. Even on the black market, you can have some sort of certainty that you are getting the actual plant that you believe you are buying. With synthetic marijuana, the effects are much closer to those of meth than marijuana – and in fact there have been cases of synthetic marijuana being found that actually has methamphetamine in it. In one recent case, a man from Arizona decapitated his wife and two dogs before gouging out one of his eyeballs after a night of smoking synthetic marijuana. This is not what happens when you smoke weed.
The takeaway: Stay away!
Whether it is called incense, spice, K2, synthetic pot, or Darkness, stay far away from this synthetic marijuana stuff. It is not marijuana – in fact, it is nothing like marijuana in its chemical structure or in its effects. It is dangerous, and it makes you behave dangerously. Don’t fall for the claims that it is legal, cheap, and safe. Insist on the real stuff, and enjoy the benefits of nature’s cure for yourself without the chemical risks of fake pot.