An Introduction to Synthetic Marijuana: Definition and Overview

An Introduction to Synthetic Marijuana: Definition and Overview

If you visit a smoke shop, you may come across a variety of colorful products from various brands that are advertised as “synthetic marijuana”. However, these products are not derived from the cannabis plant and are made entirely of chemicals that pose a threat to human health. Common names for these psychoactive substances include K2, Spice, THC-O, or Rocks. While they may have similarities to cannabinoids, they do not contain any actual cannabis.

Spice or K2 synthetic weed is made by mixing dried plant material with a chemical composition that is sprayed onto it. The types of plant material and chemicals used are unknown and the potency and potential health risks of these products are impossible to know, as they are illegal and not regulated by the FDA.

Many people believe that they can use synthetic cannabinoids as a substitute for medical marijuana due to their affordability and accessibility. However, unlike products derived from hemp or the marijuana plant, there are alarming health effects and symptoms that people using synthetic cannabinoids can experience.

The chemicals used in Spice can result in some consistent and known side effects such as hot flashes, agitation, nausea and vomiting, excessive sweating, numbness in muscles and extremities (fingers, toes), tremors and muscle spasms, seizures, thoughts of suicide and self-harm, stroke, and psychosis.

It is important to remember that just because synthetic cannabinoids can be found and purchased does not make them legal to buy or use. Delaware and Maine are the only states that have not formalized a ban on the sale or use of synthetic cannabinoids.

Delta-THC products such as Delta-8 or Delta-10 do not fall under the category of synthetic marijuana as they are hemp-derived cannabinoids. These products must come from agricultural hemp and are currently legal to buy, use, and possess due to the legalization of hemp-derived products by the federal government in 2018.

Some people combine K2 with marijuana with a false belief that weed will reduce the negative symptoms and provide a better “high” with fewer side effects. However, as synthetic cannabinoids bind more quickly and easily compared to marijuana, it is absorbed first. Whether you mix it with cannabis or not, the toxic chemicals in Spice will trump any benefits from organic cannabinoids.

There is no research to determine whether taking cannabidiol (CBD) with synthetic marijuana can reduce harmful and uncomfortable side effects or promote faster recovery from symptoms after human consumption of Spice.

It is crucial to seek medical assistance immediately if you or someone you know is showing signs of synthetic cannabinoid use. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can even lead to life-threatening situations. If you are interested in exploring medical marijuana as an alternative health option, schedule an appointment with a reputable licensed dispensary like DocMJ for professional guidance and education on the safe use of cannabis products.

Dr. Paul Miller, MD

Dr. Miller is committed to finding new and innovative ways to help his patients manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. He has a particular interest in the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis and is passionate about educating both his colleagues and patients on its safe and effective use. He is also committed to continuing his education and staying up-to-date on the latest advances in neurology and cannabis research.

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