Unlike cannabis, spice or synthetic weed is not a single drug, it is a collection of laboratory-made chemicals designed to mimic the effects of THC. The chemicals bind to the same cannabinoid receptors in the brain as THC. Problem is, while on it, you may end up biting a dog, you may turn into a zombie and there is the possibility of dying a horrible death.
Question is why do people use it?
According to law enforcement, spice or K2 is one of the toughest drugs to track, the reason for that is, the makeup of synthetic weed is changing faster than law enforcement can keep up. That means that what you smoke today may be very different from what you smoke tomorrow. Also, synthetic weed is technically legal and considered safe by some misguided people. Plus it is very cheap.
Normally, synthetic cannabis is sold as a mixture of plant materials, but they can also take other forms such as capsules, powders, pills, and liquids designed to be used in electronic cigarettes.
The psychoactive effects of fake weed are very similar to those of THC, meaning after smoking it you may experience euphoria, you may become more talkative, or you may experience lethargy, intensification of sensorial experiences, perceptual distortions and or social withdrawal.
Physical signs include:
- Dry mouth
- Increased blood pressure
- Acute bronchodilator effects
- Increased heart rate
Normally, the effects are noticeable after 10 minutes and they wear out after 3-4 hours, however, in some cases for example, if you smoke too much. The effects may last for days or even months.
According to reports, synthetic weed can either trigger new-onset psychosis or exacerbate previously stable symptoms. Its psychiatric effects include:
- Anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia
- Suicide ideation
- Cognitive impairment
- Hair loss and gray hair
- Premature aging
- Hallowed cheeks
How Spice Affects the Brain
As mentioned above, the effects are very similar to those produced by marijuana, but, synthetic cannabinoids bind more strongly to receptors, meaning the effects are more powerful and unpredictable.
What should worry you is the makeup of the drug and conditions its made in. in the early days, the most common ingredient was a synthetic cannabinoid known as JWH-018. If you do a little research you will learn that JWH-018 is an extremely dangerous toxic poison at high doses it causes:
- Extreme sedation
What makes it difficult to understand exactly how spice affects the human brain and body is synthetic cannabinoids are ever changing. For example, in 2015, the DEA made it illegal to sell, buy or posses AB-CHMINACA by classifying it as a schedule 1 substance, the issue is, all the manufacturers had to do to avoid problems with the law was to change the formula a bit i.e. instead of using the outlawed AB-CHMINACA they started using MAB-CHMNINACA.
As a user, you don’t really know what you are consuming because the chemicals are rapidly changing, you don’t know the number of drugs you are consuming and you don’t know what the herbal components are. The reality is you could be consuming poison, heavy metals and many other things that come with unknown side effects. It’s kind of like playing Russian roulette.
Is Spice Addictive?
The truth is, synthetic cannabinoids are super addictive and they come with long-term consequences.
Unlike synthetic cannabinoids, Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC partially agonizes CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, on the other hand, synthetic cannabinoids bind 100 times more tightly than THC. When stimulated, CB1 receptors cause greater psychoactive effect through its modulation of glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid neurotransmitters.
The withdrawal symptoms are unpredictable, but generally, users experience the following withdrawal symptoms after six days:
- Severe Anxiety
Back in April, 2 people died and 54 others suffered severe bleeding after using spice in Illinois. It doesn’t stop there, there have been reports stretching back to 2004 that paint a clear picture of how dangerous fake weed is.
In a statement, Dr. Nirav Shah, the director of the Illinois Department of public health said: “we continue to see the number of cases rise”. According to him, we should expect to see more deaths and overdosed tied to fake weed.
Is there a Treatment for Synthetic Weed Addiction?
The reason why young people are drawn to fake weed is very simple, on the streets, it is very easy to find and it is cheaper than real weed. Some also believe that since it’s technically legal, it is completely safe to use. There is also the fact that some people can’t tell the difference between fake weed and real weed.
If you think that spice or K2 is negatively impacting your life, there is no shame in seeking help before things get worse. Addiction affects you in two ways, one it affects your body and two it affects your social and professional life. That means that Long term addiction to spice may lead to:
- brain damage
- heart damage
- stomach problems
- anxiety and paranoia
- suicidal thoughts
The first thing you should do is admit that you have a problem. After you have made that clear to yourself, find a support group or talk to your family doctor. The problem with treating synthetic weed addiction is very simple, caregivers don’t know exactly what they are dealing with meaning there is no uniform treatment. That’s why it’s i