National Drug Facts Week : Synthetic Marijuana

 True or false… Synthetic marijuana is a safer alternative to using real marijuana. 

Day 2 Marijuana FALSE

Both synthetic and real marijuana are dangerous in their own way. Synthetic marijuana, often called Spice or K2, consists of shredded plant materials that have been sprayed with chemicals designed to act on the same brain-cell receptors as THC,  the psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical found in the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. The sprayed chemicals on synthetic marijuana are often much more powerful and unpredictable than THC.

People who have had bad reactions to Spice report symptoms like a fast heart rate, throwing up, feeling nervous, feeling confused, and hallucinations. Spice can also raise blood pressure and cause less blood to flow to the heart. In a few cases, it has been linked with heart attacks and death. The chemical makeup of synthetic marijuana is constantly changing to evade legal restrictions, but we know that just one hit of it can be deadly. Because the chemical composition of many products sold as Spice is unknown, it is likely that some varieties also contain substances that could cause dramatically different effects than the user might expect. Packaging for the drug may claim to be “natural” and they may contain plant materials that are natural, but chemical analyses of the product show that the active ingredients are man made synthetic chemicals.

To learn more about synthetic marijuana please CLICK HERE.

Real marijuana and THC have negative effects on the user’s health as well. The effect of THC on the brain can disrupt learning and memory. Marijuana also affects brain development, and when it is used heavily by young people, its effects on thinking and memory may last a long time or even be permanent. Frequent smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems experienced by tobacco smokers, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, and a heightened risk of lung infections. CLICK HERE to read more about the effects of marijuana from NIDA.

Are you a parent? Check out NIDA’s “Marijuana: Facts Parents Need to Know” booklet. Contact us to get a copy!

For more information about NIDA’s National Drug Facts Week CLICK HERE.

“Synthetic Marijuana” – Nothing Like Real Marijuana, Expert Explains (January 28, 2015) – An Article regarding synthetic marijuana from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.