Synthetic drugs have been a hot topic in the news lately, with stories covering the various bans of these drugs, as well as stories of the effects of these drugs on its users. The types of synthetic drugs fall into two different categories, bath salts and synthetic marijuana. These are very different drugs, although many of the news reports simply lump them together. I think that lumping them together does a disservice to the public, as we are not properly educated about these substances.
This week, I have scoured the Internet for stories about these synthetic drugs. Although I have found some alarming stories about synthetic marijuana, many of the stories involving bath salts are more horrific. Synthetic marijuana has been reported to cause some mild psychosis, as well as rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, and high body temperatures. Bath salts, on the other hand, often involve extreme hallucinations, often inciting violence.
I am, by no means, trying to say synthetic pot is ok and it is not harmful…but I do think that bath salts are much more dangerous. Bath salts are a type of methamphetamine; where as synthetic marijuana is closer to pot. I think that any research into these two substances will validate my opinion.
So, what is synthetic marijuana? Just like the name suggests, it is synthetically made compound that mimics the effects of marijuana. These chemicals are similar to the natural cannabinoids found in marijuana. The chemical is made in a liquid form, and then it is put onto herbs to be smoked. These drugs come prepackaged and ready to smoke. Like bath salts, the packaging states that it is “not for human consumption.”
These “herbal blends” are sold in head shops around the country, under names like K2 and Spice. The drug is often referred under these names. As more bans on synthetic drugs are put into place, these drugs are slowly becoming harder to obtain. Like bath salts, though, chemists come up with new formulas for the active ingredient, slightly different than the banned chemicals. These new chemicals also produce a marijuana-like high, but are not banned under the current law. The DEA has taken steps to ban 5 compounds often found in synthetic marijuana, but chemists have created more than 5 formulas.
Some sources believe that synthetic marijuana is stronger than the real thing, and these sources also site that it is more dangerous. In recent years, calls to poison control about synthetic marijuana have been on the rise. One doctor and researcher claims that these substances can cause an increased risk of paranoia and disorganized behavior. Evidence shows that extremely large doses of “Spice” may produce some negative effects not associated with marijuana, such as increased agitation and vomiting. People are not, however, thinking their baby is a demon and dropping them off on the interstate. People are not, however, attacking police officers and stabbing them multiple times. And people are not biting police cruisers hard enough to leave marks as a result of synthetic marijuana use. All of these things have been attributed to the use of bath salts.
Image courtesy of TheRecordHerald.com.