With the legalization of marijuana in several states parents may not realize that an equal or perhaps even greater danger lies in the use of fake or synthetic marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is man-made; often composed of chopped plant material and tea leaves that have been sprayed over with a mix of chemicals designed to mimic the effects of natural marijuana.
Synthetic marijuana is highly addictive and has been associated with frightening physical side effects. Despite the fact that state and federal agents have tried making it illegal, many teens can still buy it in neighborhood tobacco shops.
Side-Effects Of Synthetic Marijuana, Spice
Parents whose teenagers have used synthetic marijuana, most often referred to as Spice, tell stories of kids with pale faces, vomiting blood, demonstrating irrational anger and passing out when they can’t more of the drug. Drug counselors say that young people addicted to Spice have told them about undergoing seizures and episodes of severe paranoia.
Parent’s Personal Stories Of Their Teens Using Spice
One California mother told local reporters that, despite these effects, her 22 year old son preferred to be homeless and separated from his family rather than give up using Spice.
In Maryland, another mother tells how her 16 year old son smoked K2 (another popular name for synthetic marijuana) and immediately experienced a psychotic breakdown. Her child has made three suicide attempts and undergone 17 psychiatric hospitalizations since using the drug. Forbes magazine reported on three Texas families whose sons had heart attacks after using Spice.
The personal stories of the ravages of synthetic marijuana use are heartbreaking, but moms are not the only ones reporting the dangers of the drug.
CDC Alert On Synthetic Marijuana And Huge Number Of ER Visits
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an alert in February 2013 after 16 verified cases of kidney damage related to use of synthetic marijuana. All of the young people were dealing with serious repercussions, five of the sixteen young people required dialysis.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that in 2010 there were 11,400 visits to hospital emergency rooms that were related to synthetic marijuana use. Since Spice has only grown in popularity, current figures would likely be far higher. Most of the 2010 emergency room visitors were between the ages of 12 and 29. Young people are making dangerous miscalculations about the dangers of smoking imitation marijuana.
Spice Sales Continue By Changing Ingredient Compounds
Part of the danger is that as state and federal authorities clamp down on synthetic marijuana, manufacturers look for ways to escape the legal net. The federal government and most states have made the five chemicals most often used to make Spice illegal. The substances were banned in California in 2012 and yet hidden cameras have footage of young teens purchasing Spice in local tobacco shops.
Spice manufacturers simply change a single molecule of the chemical compound and thereby skirt the bans. They also label their product as unfit for human use knowing that savvy buyers know better. This frequent alteration in chemical make-up poses tremendous danger to users of synthetic marijuana. The fact that the drug is made surreptitiously means that the potency of the stuff can vary greatly from one batch to the next. And one batch may contain one drug compound while another batch may contain an altered chemical compound the user has never tried before. There is no way for the user to know neither what he or she is smoking nor how it will affect them.
Synthetic Marijuana – Cheap And Easy To Buy
According to federal studies, Spice/K2 is the second most used drug by teens. They are getting it at local stores, often at ‘head’ shops for as little as five dollars per packet.
Names Of Synthetic Marijuana
It usually comes in a small packet or a jar and is sold under a host of names like:
- Fake Weed
- Yucatan Fire
- Scooby Snacks
- Mr. Happy
Talk To Your Teens About Synthetic Marijuana
Teens need to know that the stuff they are smoking is not safe, it is dangerous. They should be warned that what is being sold to them has often never been tested on human beings. The chemicals found in Spice were originally created for use in fertilizers and cancer treatments and can cause severe side effects. Ask moms in California, Maryland, Texas and across the U.S. about the dangers of synthetic marijuana.
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