Synthetic marijuana, also known by other popular street names, such as K2 or spice, is a rage among the youth. However, it can cause devastating effects when used in an uncontrolled manner, warn the experts. Prepared from a combination of synthetic cannabinoids, chemicals and mixtures of herbs, synthetic marijuana is potentially more dangerous than natural marijuana. It is often marketed as incense that can be smoked.
Lately, the use of these mind-altering substances has gone up drastically in the United States. Depending on the dosage and the resilience of the user, the effects of synthetic marijuana on the brain are akin to that of regular marijuana, which include paranoia, panic attacks and giddiness. But the intensity and gravity of the effects of synthetic marijuana are far-reaching.
More dangerous than assumed
Often, the effects of synthetic marijuana are leveled as “zombie effect” because an addict tends to behave like a zombie after consuming the drug. Symptoms of extreme distrust, panic attacks, anxiety and psychotic episodes are associated with acute paranoia. Most of the behaviors of K2 addicts are unpredictable. The robust and combustible behavior of the users of synthetic marijuana can be attributed to the chemical in spice or K2 that is hundred times more potent than the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient present in marijuana.
It is true that the use of regular marijuana can induce psychosis where there is a little delineation from reality, but use of synthetic marijuana is marked by severe psychosis and uncontrolled behaviors in the users. The chemicals present in synthetic marijuana are not deemed fit for the human body. Moreover, the new trend of buying the stuff online, which is beyond the purview of any regulation, prevents the user from ascertaining the source of the drug and this makes it more dangerous.
Manufacturers outsmart regulators
It is not that regulators, such as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), have not tried to intervene and prevent the proliferation of drugs like synthetic marijuana, but the manufacturers often outsmart regulators and manage to find a way out to flood the market with spurious drugs. When the DEA highlighted the five compounds found in K2 in 2011 and included them on their list of illegal substances, the manufacturers tinkered with the chemicals and dodged the regulations with ease. Thus, newer versions of K2 found their way into the market that are potentially more dangerous than the previous ones. The newer version of K2 can cause low blood pressure, a slower heart rate, seizures, coma and kidney ailments.
To clamp down on such massive illegal flouting of regulations by dubious drug manufacturer, efforts have to pour in from all stakeholders.
Whether it is a normal marijuana addiction or a chronic dependence on drugs like K2 or spice, the long-term effects of drugs are always intimidating. Addiction is a scourge, not only for the addict but also for each member of the family. However, it is treatable with love and effort from close ones and a willingness from the addict to go sober.