The cannabis plant is all-natural, grown straight from the Earth for over thousands of years. Unfortunately, due to prohibition in the last 100 or so years, it’s not federally legal or as easily accepted as more legal ways of getting high are. Drinking, smoking cigarettes, and consuming other substances that aren’t technically illegal are more accepted but can lead to dangerous consequences. These other substances now include synthetic weed, but it shouldn’t be confused with providing the same effects as the real thing.
Synthetic pot is not the same as all-natural marijuana. Often referred to as Spice or K2, this synthetic form of weed does not have the same side effects as marijuana, but it does have compounds that are chemically similar, known as synthetic cannabinoids.
Synthetic weed is illegal to possess and sell in the United States, but chemists can tweak the synthetic compounds in such a way that makes it technically legal. Even when it isn’t considered legal, the drug is still easy to get, inexpensive, and undetectable in standard drug tests (while natural marijuana can cause a failed drug test up to a month after consumption).
Synthetic weed is not as safe as it’s cracked up to be. It’s actually considered to be much more dangerous than natural marijuana. Let’s see this marijuana myth busted by looking at reasons why synthetic marijuana is much more dangerous than real marijuana.
There are many different varieties of synthetic weed, all of which may contain different ingredients that cause different side effects not typically felt with the real stuff. Many users of fake weed report feeling nauseous, agitated, and paranoid. Reports also say users have experienced chest pain, cardiac problems, stroke, kidney damage, brain damage, hallucination, and even death on occasion.
Marijuana, on the other hand, is responsible for zero direct deaths in the thousands of years that humans have been consuming it. So while users can overdose on synthetic weed and opiate painkillers, both of which are legal, no one has ever reported witnessing an overdose on weed that caused death (although some people may experience a bad trip when they consume too much marijuana).
Synthetic weed is created in underground and back alley labs, many of which do not have to adhere to a quality control process. Many of these labs are in China and other countries with fewer regulations than the United States. When you purchase a bag of synthetic weed, you have no idea what you are getting. It’s also hard to track how much synthetic cannabinoids are actually in it.
Because there is no quality control for synthetic weed, users never know what kind of high they may experience. Even from the same bag, the chemicals may be more compounded in some areas and cause a different kind of high than other areas. The high that comes with synthetic weed is so unpredictable it has been associated with thousands of emergency room visits for various problems including delirium, violent behavior, vomiting, and more.
The demand for the ability to get legally high created a platform for back alley labs to make money off law-abiding consumers. Unfortunately, the risks fake weed impose greatly outweigh the benefits of a legal high. Although people used to assume synthetic weed was safe, many are now recognizing the dangerous consequences of consuming this drug.
Now that the stigma on marijuana is subsiding and prohibition is finally on its way out, people can access a legal high without the dangers of fake weed. Over half the country allows legal marijuana consumption in one form or another, with another eight states legalizing recreational weed. But fake weed is still prevalent and causing damage to people in the United States. Only through continued legalization and regulation can we help those who cannot access legal, safe, natural marijuana.