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What is synthetic marijuana?

Synthetic marijuana is a psychoactive designer drug that is made of natural herbs that are sprayed with synthetic chemicals. When these synthetic chemicals are consumed, they supposedly mimic the effects of marijuana. These synthetic chemicals are known as synthetic cannabinoids. Synthetic marijuana is best known by their brand names K2 and Spice. These brand names have become almost trademarks for synthetic marijuana and are used to refer to any and all synthetic marijuana. There are some people who are against calling K2 or Spice synthetic marijuana because the ingredients in it are mimics and not copies of THC (the active ingredient in actual marijuana).

History of synthetic marijuana

Synthetic marijuana products were first sold under the brand name of Spice. Synthetic marijuana appeared in Europe in 2004. In 2006, the brand gained popularity. Eventually in 2009, competing brands began emerging and they were also referred to as Spice. So spice which is synthetic marijuana became the name to refer to all herbal blends with synthetic cannabinoids added to them.

How is synthetic marijuana sold?

Synthetic marijuana is often sold as herbal incense although some brands market their synthetic marijuana as herbal smoking blends. Regardless, most of the synthetic marijuana products are smoked by its users.

For several years, synthetic drugs have been easy to purchase in head shops and gas stations and via the Internet. Because the chemicals used in Spice have a high potential for abuse and no medical benefit, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has designated the five active chemicals most frequently found in Spice as Schedule I controlled substances, making it illegal to sell, buy, or possess them. Manufacturers of Spice products attempt to evade these legal restrictions by substituting different chemicals in their mixtures, while the DEA continues to monitor the situation and evaluate the need for updating the list of banned cannabinoids.

Slang names for Synthetic Marijuana

Some of the slang terms for synthetic marijuana are K2 and Spice. But synthetic marijuana also has many other slang names. Other street names are Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, Fake Weed, Genie and Zohai. Other names of synthetic marijuana include Bliss, Blaze, Yucatan Fire, Skunk and Moon Rocks.

Is synthetic marijuana safe?

Synthetic marijuana does not produce positive results for cannabis in drug tests; it is possible to test for it now through metabolites in human urine.

All the research on whether or not synthetic marijuana is safe is just now coming to light. What is being found is that it seems like synthetic marijuana can cause a psychosis and in some cases it can be very prolonged. Intoxication from synthetic marijuana is associated with psychosis and the worsening of previously stable psychotic disorders. Those with a history of mental health disorders are especially susceptible to the effects of synthetic marijuana.

Synthetic marijuana can be extremely dangerous and addictive. Health effects from the drug can be life-threatening and can include:

  • Severe agitation and anxiety.
  • Fast, racing heartbeat and higher blood pressure.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Muscle spasms, seizures, and tremors.
  • Intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes.
  • Suicidal and other harmful thoughts and/or actions.


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