One of the most beneficial and reassuring aspects of cannabis is its ability to heal the body naturally. With the current opioid epidemic sweeping across the nation, the need to provide safe, effective medical treatments to patients is more prominent than ever. More efforts are now being made to rid modern-day treatments of harmful side effects, addictive properties, and other long-term negative ramifications. Though cannabis is continuing to prove its validity as a safer alternative to many prescription drugs, it is recently (and inaccurately) being somewhat associated with a new public health concern; synthetic marijuana.
Sometimes referred to as “K2” or “Spice”, synthetic marijuana is an illegal, man-made substance that was created to replicate the effects of cannabinoids, which are the chemical compounds found in marijuana. More specifically, it was originally manufactured in legitimate laboratories in order to study one cannabinoid in particular and its effects on the brain; Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is the psychoactive component in the marijuana plant which is responsible for the sensation of being “high” when it is consumed. The illegal status of cannabis, however, restricted researchers from learning more about how THC impacts the body and its possible medical capabilities. Therefore, synthetic cannabinoids were concocted to work around legislation.
Unfortunately, this cannabis doppelganger leaked out of the controlled environments of research facilities and into the realm of illegal street substances. It has even managed to break out in products found in certain headshops, under aliases such as “potpourri” or “incense” to avoid suspicion. Also, synthetic marijuana often comes in liquid form, making it easier for entrepreneurs to market it as legal e-cigarette cartridges. The recent surge of easier accessibility is appealing to more of the street-drug populous and causing understandable concern for the on-the-level cannabis community. Much like the monster created by Doctor Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s epic horror novel, synthetic marijuana is created haphazardly and having notably dangerous repercussions to our society.
As previously stated, synthetic marijuana typically comes in liquid form. This makes it easier for headshops and black market sellers to spray traditional cannabis buds, incense or potpourri with synthetic cannabinoids and rendering it virtually undetectable. With underground or low-key operations secretly adding these knock-off cannabinoids to their products, those seeking a traditional marijuana experience outside of a medical marijuana dispensary are at risk. Legal state dispensaries are carefully designed and monitored to provide accurate content information of all of their products to qualified medical marijuana patients. So the potential of unknowingly obtaining cannabis laced with synthetics from unauthorized entrepreneurs is a growing threat.
The intent behind synthetic marijuana is to gain the closest experience possible to naturally grown cannabis. But with mad scientists working underground, the synthetic version has been known to carry up to 10 times the potency of traditional THC. This might not seem alarming since a THC overdose isn’t life-threatening, but the mysterious chemicals added in are what can cause serious damage to the human body. Even in small dosages, the wide range of things someone may experience from consuming synthetic marijuana include, but are not limited to:
In addition to its physical effects, synthetic marijuana can also cause psychosis, resulting in possible:
To add insult to injury, synthetic cannabis possesses another quality that wildly differentiates from natural cannabis; physical addiction. When consumed for an extended period of time, users become accustomed to the extreme “highs” so much that their body begins to crave it once consumption has halted. Withdrawal symptoms are intensified in comparison to natural marijuana and can include depression, irritability, headaches, and an anxious mindset.
Simply put, synthetic marijuana should be considered the “evil twin” of the cannabis plant. Not only is it ultimately useless as a medical treatment for any condition, but the rise in hospitalizations and deaths from its consumption is a societal red flag. MedWell Health & Wellness Centers genuinely cares about the health and safety of all of our patients and wishes to provide the highest quality of medical care and education. It is our medical (and steadfast) opinion to avoid purchasing or consuming any unknown cannabis products and to seek the professional assistance from a legally licensed medical marijuana doctor or dispensary.