The Dangers of Synthetic Cannabinoids
By Stonewater Recovery · 2 minute read
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention , Synthetic cannabinoids (also known as synthetic marijuana, with brand names like K2) are various man-made chemicals that some people may use as an alternative to marijuana. These seemingly innocent little packages of fake weed can cause serious side effects that are very different from those of marijuana. Synthetic cannabinoids are often sprayed on dried plant material so they can be smoked, brewed in tea, or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes - also known as herbal incense.
Other street names of synthetic cannabinoids include:
- Black Mamba
- Moon Rock
The Composition of Synthetic Cannabinoids and False AdvertisingSo how are synthetic cannabinoids made? The mechanism of action behind these drugs works on the same brain cell receptors as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the mind-altering ingredient in marijuana. Unfortunately, there have been few studies of the effects of synthetic cannabinoids on the actual human brain, but according to the N IDA , some research shows that some of them bind more strongly than marijuana to the cell receptors affected by THC, resulting in much stronger effects which can be unpredictable and dangerous. The NIDA also states, synthetic cannabinoid labels often claim that they contain "natural" material taken from a variety of plants. However, the only parts of these products that are natural are the dried plant materials. Chemical tests show that the active, mind-altering ingredients are cannabinoid compounds made in laboratories. Since the drug is still relatively new, the long-term effects are still unknown, but the short term side effects are continually being reported and updated as new batches of the drug are created and distributed.
Dangerous Side EffectsThe composition of these psychoactive drugs or what is being sprayed onto the plant materials are often the cause for users to fall victim to dangerous and unpredictable reactions, sending them to emergency rooms or a fatal outcome. In August 2018, an NBC news affiliate in New Haven, Connecticut reported a story of over 80 overdoses in one 24-hour period from synthetic marijuana. After a thorough investigation, traces of fentanyl were found in the composition of the drugs, leading to side effects such as nausea, vomiting, convulsions, and intense lethargy. These incidents and similar ones around the country from New York to California have shown that anything can be mixed within the compounds of synthetic cannabinoids, including opiates and even brodifacoum, a compound found in rat poison. Other known side effects of these psychoactive drugs include ones similar to marijuana according to the NIDA :
- Extreme anxiety
- Suicidal thoughts
- Altered perception
- Elevated mood