As you already know, cannabis has a long, complicated relationship with humanity. Even as more states become cannabis-friendly—or at least tolerant—pharmaceutical companies are still trying to break into the market void created by the continued federal prohibition of marijuana. Find out the dangers of synthetic weed and why you should stick to the real thing.
Essentially, synthetic marijuana contains chemically perverted and synthesized cannabinoids that were created in a lab to mimic the psychological effects of THC, the naturally occurring cannabinoid of marijuana that produces the “high” sensation.
Although the earliest synthetic cannabinoids were developed in 1978 for research purposes, it wasn’t until 2009 that we started seeing the negative impacts of synthetic cannabis use in the United States.
Like marijuana, synthetic weed is also smoked, but that’s where the similarities between the two substances end. Synthetic marijuana’s lab-created chemicals have been said to give users a stronger high than THC, leading to hallucinations, seizures, convulsions, and other profoundly negative psychological effects for some patients. In Colorado alone, the DEA has been working to establish synthetic marijuana’s link to three deaths and a series of hospitalizations across the state.
Due to its origins in a lab, synthetic marijuana is far more powerful than marijuana and, even more concerning, it’s practically impossible to know what you’re getting when it comes synthetic weed.
The cannabinoid compounds themselves are analogs of THC, each with its genetic imprint. That means some of these synthesized THC analogs could be 1 to 800 times more potent than natural THC while others 25 times more powerful, and some are just fives times more potent.
Dosing becomes even more complicated when you take into consideration that labs are constantly changing the analogs in their formula without the need to report such shifts to consumers or the federal government.
There are many dangers of synthetic weed to watch out for. While users of synthetic marijuana can experience a brief euphoria, many patients have reported high instances of vomiting, nausea, accelerated heart rate and blood pressure, and kidney damage, in addition to hallucinatory reactions.
Violent behavior triggered by hallucinations and seizures have also been reported. In fact, as of 2013, the dangerous side effects of synthetic weed had caused 45 states to institute laws against the selling or consumption of synthetic cannabinoids.
Synthetic marijuana compounds are also harder to detect than marijuana in drug tests, and according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, synthetic weed is the second most used illicit drug among high school seniors, behind marijuana itself.
What makes synthetic weed so nefarious is its lab-based origins. While certain chemical compounds of synthetic marijuana can be and have been, there are hundreds more anonymous compounds that haven’t been identified yet. As such, they aren’t technically illegal…yet.
Even John W. Huffman, the scientist credited with creating synthetic marijuana on a federal drug grant, recommended against the human ingestion of these compounds. In a 2011 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Hoffman cautioned consumers, noting “these [synthetic marijuana alternatives] are dangerous—anybody who uses them is playing Russian roulette.”
With the stigma against cannabis users quickly becoming a thing of the past, recreational marijuana consumers in the Silver State can consider themselves safe from the dangers of fake weed. At Las Vegas Releaf, all of our products are legal, safe, and lab-tested.