Everything you need to know about Synthetic Marijuana
The chemicals in synthetic marijuana are designed to have similar qualities to that of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Most commonly spice is ingested via smoking but it can also be added to drinks or added to food as an edible drug.
Marijuana is a drug which comes from a plant right? Yes. Well sort of.
There is a version of marijuana called synthetic marijuana and it is a far cry from the soil based drug you have heard of. Nicknamed Spice or K2, Synthetic marijuana is a chemically modified herbal substance that produces mind-altering effects similar to or more potent than marijuana. (link to Marijuana info on HH)
Now, although you may not have heard of it in SA, Spice is fairly common in the USA and the UK where it is sold in petrol stations, various shops and importantly, online. This is where you need to listen up. A person in SA can order Spice and have it delivered, in as simple a process as ordering a pair of shoes. As well as buying from other local channels within South Africa. In the USA and UK Spice is promoted as a “safe” and legal alternative to marijuana despite significant evidence to the contrary.
The drug is marketed as incense or potpourri. It often carries the warning “not for human consumption.” Worryingly, this marketing loophole allows the substance to be sold legally.
One of the issues that you should also consider is that the packaging, name and ingredients of synthetic marijuana are inconsistent and can change based on the seller. As a result of this the drug is a moving target for both health officials and police enforcement hoping to cut down on its negative effects.
What are the street names of Synthetic Marijuana?
Aside from the commonly used names Spice and K2 there are a range of other names synthetic marijuana goes by. These include: Mojo, Black Mamba, Genie, Cloud 9, Yucatan Fire, Moon Rocks, Skunk, Zohai, Bliss, Blaze and Fake Weed
One of the main reasons you are reading this here is that, along with the current discussions around marijuana, Spice is a drug that has found its ways into our country and you should know as much as you can about it as it creeps into our streets. Remember synthetic marijuana is not actually intended to be smoked or ingested and using it in those ways is considered abuse.
It is commonly understood that many teenagers and young adults are drawn to synthetic marijuana because they believe that it is safer than marijuana, or astonishingly that they won’t get in trouble for using it because it can be purchased legally. There is another danger. Synthetic marijuana doesn’t show up on most drug tests, making the drug an easy and obvious choice for those worried about getting caught.
What about the effects of synthetic marijuana?
Good question. The high associated with spice are similar to those of the drug marijuana.
The so-called positive side effects include:
• An altered perception of reality
• Feelings of relaxation
• Moods are good and happy.
The actual makeup ( ingredients) in synthetic marijuana differ in every batch. What you should realise is that the chemicals used to produce the drug’s effects were originally formulated to be used in anything from fertilizers to cancer treatment.
These chemicals have not been approved for human consumption, and there is no way to know what adverse reactions a user may have. A user will literally be gambling with their life every single time they buy and use spice!
What about the negative side effects?
Minor side effects of synthetic marijuana are similar to those of real marijuana. There are however a few more effects which are worrying. They include :
• Rapid heart rate
• High blood pressure
• Profuse sweating
• Heart attacks
• Kidney damage
Right now, synthetic marijuana ( spice) use is not at epidemic proportion. It is, however, a growing problem and should be on everyone’s radar… And people need to be thinking about it, and how we’re going to deal with it.
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