'Synthetic Marijuana' Harms Health
Although they're marketed as a safe and legal alternative to marijuana, a number of studies have shown synthetic cannabinoids (SCBs) to be harmful. These psychotropic chemicals, which can be sprayed onto dried plants to be smoked or sold as vaporizable, inhalable liquids, can cause unusual symptoms and may be toxic and unsafe.
SCBs are sold under several names, including Spice and K2. They create some of the same effects as marijuana, in much the same way, but SCBs are stronger and contain other chemicals that produce adverse health effects, including damage to the gastrointestinal tract and the neurological, cardiovascular, and renal systems.
Common effects of synthetic marijuana include severe vomiting, anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, and extreme psychosis. Between 2011 and 2014, 20 deaths associated with SCBs were reported. They cannot be detected by standard drug screening—making them popular in people who want to avoid detection—and often are purchased online. According to researchers, synthetic cannabinoids have none of the potential health benefits associated with marijuana.
Image Credit: Thinkstock