Dangers of Synthetic Marijuana

a person sits on a couch with their hands folded against their mouth while they learn of synthetic marijuana

Synthetic marijuana refers to a growing class of drugs that have been designed to mimic the effects of cannabis. These drugs can lead to synthetic marijuana abuse, often resulting in addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling, reach out to Northpoint Omaha at 888.687.8014 to learn more about our marijuana addiction treatment program and how it can help.

What Is Synthetic Marijuana?

Synthetic marijuana comes in dozens, if not hundreds, of different varieties. These drugs don’t come from the marijuana plant itself, but they generally target the same regions of the brain as THC. Synthetic marijuana goes by many different names, including:

  • Spice
  • K2
  • Yucatan Fire
  • Moon Rocks
  • Skunk

These chemicals are formulated in laboratories and frequently sold in smoke shops. Though they are known to be commonly abused and have no known medicinal purpose, they can be completely legal to sell through gaps in drug enforcement laws.

A chemical has to be known to be outlawed. The DEA has classified the five major ingredients in synthetic marijuana to be Schedule 1 controlled substances, making them illegal to sell, produce, possess, or use. However, synthetic marijuana manufacturers stay ahead of legal action by making small changes to their chemical formulations to skirt the law.

Known Dangers of Synthetic Marijuana

Despite their quasi-legal status, synthetic marijuana varieties are already known to have a host of dangers associated with them. The first and foremost is addiction. They are designed to mimic the effects of recreational drugs, so they trigger the same reward networks in the brain as marijuana.

Synthetic marijuana can be much more potent and intoxicating than the cannabis flower itself, increasing a person’s likelihood of developing a serious substance use disorder.

Other dangers of synthetic marijuana include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Violent behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Irritability

Further, there have been several reports of people overdosing on synthetic marijuana. Seizures, kidney damage, and reduced blood supply to the heart can all lead to incredibly harmful consequences of synthetic marijuana use.

Unknown Dangers of Synthetic Marijuana

Though much is known about the dangers of synthetic marijuana, even more, is still unknown. Since these drug manufacturers change their active ingredients and chemical formulations so quickly, there is little time for scientists and researchers to explore the long-term effects of synthetic marijuana abuse before the chemicals change to something radically different.

In effect, many people who use synthetic marijuana are taking drugs without known safety or health information. The potential for danger with chemicals that affect the brain is exceptionally high.

Using drugs that have never been investigated is dangerous partly because little is known about potential side effects and how to help people recover from them in the future.

Get Help for Synthetic Marijuana Abuse at Northpoint Omaha

Despite the dangers of synthetic marijuana, its widespread availability makes it a commonly used drug among adults and teenagers. People struggling with synthetic marijuana addiction will often need the help of mental health professionals to achieve sobriety, as they can battle the effects of withdrawal, cravings, and side effects when they try to quit on their own.

If you or a loved one is struggling with synthetic marijuana abuse, contact the addiction experts at Northpoint Omaha by calling 888.687.8014. Our team would be happy to tell you more about our comprehensive addiction treatment center and can get you started on the path to recovery.

Available programs and therapies include:

  • Partial hospitalization program
  • Intensive outpatient program
  • Family therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy

No matter how difficult it might seem, there is hope. The compassionate staff at Northpoint Omaha can help you navigate recovery.