Synthetic marijuana is also known as spice or K2 is a chemically altered herbal ingredient that creates mind-altering consequences comparable to or more powerful than marijuana. The chemicals in spice are made to be similar to THC the psychoactive element in marijuana.

Where does synthetic marijuana come from?

Most of the materials in synthetic marijuana come from Asia; they are smuggled into the US and then sprinkled on plant material. While some of the materials are legal they have no regulations or standards on them. 

In 2015, the DEA listed 15 modifications of synthetic marijuana as Schedule I substances, making them classified as the same as crack cocaine and heroin. The problem is these substances are not all safe but since they are labeled as not for human consumption they can be sold in a variety of places from gas stations to head shops. 

Is synthetic marijuana addicting?

While many say it is not, the clinical definition of addiction says otherwise. The problem is with no standards or regulations of the ingredients it can be extremely dangerous. In fact, in 2010 there were 11,406 emergency room visits due to synthetic marijuana; 75% of those were between the ages of 12-29. Synthetic marijuana is the second most abused drug after marijuana amongst high school kids. 

Signs of use 

If you are a parent you should know the signs. If your child shows only one or two chances are your child is not using synthetic marijuana but watch for the signs. The signs of use of synthetic marijuana include:

  •     Using incense
  •     Using eye drops
  •     Having dried plants or herbs
  •     Possessing rolling papers or vape pens
  •     Getting suspicious packages in the mail
  •     Showing unusual or secretive activities    
  •     Agitation
  •     Bloodshot or irritated eyes
  •     Pallid skin
  •     Acting muddled

Symptoms and side effects of synthetic marijuana

The side effects of synthetic marijuana are similar to marijuana but there have also been severe side effects. Some of the side effects include:

  •     High blood pressure
  •     Stress
  •     Nausea/vomiting
  •     Suspicion
  •     Convulsions
  •     Fast heartbeat
  •     Perspiring    
  •     Puzzlement
  •     Delusions
  •     Heart attacks
  •     Kidney damage

When someone who is addicted to synthetic marijuana stops they will have withdrawals much like any other drug. 

While synthetic marijuana is not an epidemic, it is used by younger people in high school to 20s. So, parents need to pay attention to the symptoms of use and talk to their children about the dangers of synthetic marijuana. Education on the dangers of drug use and how to deal with life’s stresses will help your kids make better choices when it comes to drugs. 

If you or your child needs help with recovery, call 449 Recovery at (855) 435-7449 to find out about our continuously monitored detox and recovery program. Our goal at 449 Recovery is to help each client overcome the challenges on the road to recovery. We offer an environment that is conducive to recovery and teach the tools needed to meet life’s challenges to reduce the risks of relapses.