Synthetic Cannabinoids Are Not Only Illegal, But Dangerous

By Bo Kalabus
www.rosenthalwadas.com;
b.kalabus@rosenthalwadas.com
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

What Are Synthetic Cannabinoids?

Synthetic cannabinoids refer to a growing number of man-made mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material so they can be smoked, or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes.

These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are related to chemicals found in the marijuana plant. Because of the similarity, synthetic cannabinoids are sometimes misleadingly called “synthetic marijuana”, and they are often marketed as “safe,” and legal alternatives to marijuana. In fact, they may affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana; their actual effects can be unpredictable and, in some cases, severe or even cause death.

Manufacturers sell these herbal products in colorful foil packages and sell similar liquid incense products, like e-cigarette fluids, in plastic bottles. They market these products under a wide variety of specific brand names; in past years, K2 and Spice were common. However; now hundreds of other brand names exist, such as Joker, Black Mamba, Kush, and Kronic.

For several years, synthetic cannabinoid mixtures have been easy to buy in drug paraphernalia shops, novelty stores, and gas stations. This easy access and the belief that synthetic cannabinoid products are “natural” and harmless have contributed to their use among young people. Another reason for their use is that standard drug tests cannot easily detect many of the chemicals used in these products.  However, in Texas these products are now illegal and carry the same penalties as marijuana possession cases.

What Do Synthetic Cannabinoids Do?

Synthetic cannabinoids act on the same brain cell receptors as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the mind-altering ingredient in marijuana.

So far, there have been few scientific studies of the effects of synthetic cannabinoids on the human brain, but researchers do know that some of them bind more strongly than marijuana to the cell receptors affected by THC, and may produce much stronger effects. The resulting health effects can be unpredictable, which makes this drug dangerous.

Because the chemical composition of many synthetic cannabinoid products is unknown and may change from batch to batch, these products are likely to contain substances that cause dramatically different effects than the user might expect, that again makes these products dangerous.

Synthetic cannabinoid users report some effects similar to those produced by marijuana:

  • elevated mood
  • relaxation
  • altered perception—awareness of surrounding objects and conditions
  • symptoms of psychosis—delusional or disordered thinking detached from reality

Psychotic effects include:

  • extreme anxiety
  • confusion
  • paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
  • hallucinations—sensations and images that seem real though they are not

Serious Health Effects

There can also be serious health effects associated with synthetic cannabinoids. People who have used synthetic cannabinoids and have been taken to emergency rooms have shown severe effects including:

  • rapid heart rate
  • vomiting
  • violent behavior
  • suicidal thoughts

Synthetic cannabinoids can also raise blood pressure and cause reduced blood supply to the heart, as well as kidney damage and seizures. Use of these drugs is associated with a rising number of deaths.

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