Synthetic marijuana, often referred to as K2 or spice, is frequently seen as a safe and legal alternative to marijuana. For a long time, spice was an unregulated substance that was often marketed as a natural herbal incense, which could be smoked in order to mimic the effects of marijuana.
However, spice became a Schedule I controlled substance after it became clear that it was laced with dangerous chemicals. Unfortunately, the effects of fake marijuana can be far worse than real marijuana.
What Are the Effects of Synthetic Marijuana?
Synthetic marijuana can refer to many different artificially created cannabinoids that are designed to imitate THC, the effective ingredient found in marijuana. The cannabinoids in spice are far stronger than THC, so they can cause:
- Extreme paranoia
Spice can even provoke psychotic episodes in which the user becomes completely separated from reality. Spice continues to affect the brain long after the drug has left the body, and some people have hallucinations for months.
The physical effects of spice are even more dangerous than the mental effects. The many chemicals within spice can cause people to be hospitalized with rapid heart rates, seizures, vomiting, heart attacks, and loss of muscle control. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse points out, synthetic marijuana is made up of a variety of unknown and dangerous chemicals, including heavy metals, that can create unexpected combinations that harm the body. Unlike marijuana, spice can have deadly effects, and there have even been a few cases in which people who have only smoked the drug once died.
Is Synthetic Marijuana an Addictive Drug?
It’s possible to become addicted to spice after just a few weeks of repeatedly using it, and people still report cravings for spice even after they have been clean for a year. Regular users who stop smoking spice can suffer from addiction and withdrawal symptoms, including psychotic episodes, suicidal thoughts and kidney failure.
Therefore, it’s extremely important to seek treatment for a synthetic marijuana addiction at a professional drug rehab center, where symptoms can be monitored and properly treated.