For legal marijuana activists, even the name synthetic weed is cause for controversy. And for good reason.
That’s because while it has the term weed in the title, synthetic marijuana is nothing like what nature produces from cannabis plants. A more accurate name might be “synthetic chemical compounds.”
Synthetic Weed Confusion
Some people argue that synthetic weed mimics the effects of marijuana, but research says they don’t. Also, none of the chemicals in synthetic marijuana are found in the marijuana plant.
What’s more, they weren’t originally designed for use by humans.
If you are cannabis curious, you eventually will run into someone either talking about or trying to sell synthetic weed. The best advice is to steer clear of them.
Here are some facts about the lab-created drug.
Manmade Chemical Compounds
Synthetic marijuana is created, completely man made, in a laboratory. It’s tempting to compare it to the Frankenstein’s monster – a manmade replica of the real thing. In fact, some people already have.
Marijuana is a weed that grows naturally in the wild. Synthetic marijuana is created in a lab, using chemicals to attempt to replicate the effects of marijuana. The chemicals interact directly with cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
The impact on the brain is also not the same. The synthetic compounds using lab-created chemicals can give a much stronger high than the THC found naturally in marijuana. It also can lead to seizures, hallucinations and convulsions, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Inventor Warns of Dangers
John Huffman, who invented many of the chemical compounds later used to create synthetic marijuana, told the Los Angeles Times that the chemical compounds are “dangerous” and that those who use synthetic marijuana are basically playing Russian Roulette with their lives.
The compounds originally were created for use on lab animals to test the potential positive impact on the central nervous system.
But once a research paper was published on the experiments, people began to produce synthetic marijuana of their own. The chemicals are shipped primarily from China for use in underground labs, according to the Times.
It’s led to problems with synthetic weed variations such as K2 and Spice.
Authorities in many places have banned some of the known chemicals used in the compounds. But not all combinations are known, making it much more difficult for authorities to know what compounds to ban.
Synthetic marijuana is part of a group of new psychoactive substances that have become some of the most used illicit drugs by high school seniors, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
It can lead to thoughts of suicide, delusional thinking, detachment from reality, extreme anxiety and paranoia.
Huffman himself supports the ban on any chemical compounds used for human consumption. He also supports legalizing marijuana – the natural kind.