With any up and coming industry, there are always going to be the rip off copycat products. This is a universal truth across every market, and it usually occurs without causing much damage. However, when this gets applied to things such as cannabis, the dangerous and harmful substances that unwary people may consume can lead to severe consequences.
Synthetic Cannabinoids have become somewhat of a problem over recent years, as more backyard chemists have tried their hand at creating knock-off versions of many well-known drugs like Marinol and Dronabinol.
In this article, we are going to explore exactly what a synthetic cannabinoid is, and ultimately why you need to stay well away from these man-made harmful substances.
What Is a Synthetic Cannabinoid?
If you have found yourself here, you are likely already aware of the natural cannabinoids found within the marijuana plant. It is these compounds such as THC, CBD and over 100 others that give cannabis its reputation for a high-inducing, medicinally beneficial plant.
So, what is a synthetic cannabinoid? While cannabinoids found within marijuana are 100% natural and have few harmful or dangerous side effects, synthetic cannabinoids are man-made, and often contain little to no actual cannabinoids within them. Usually, you can expect an amalgamation of random and harmful substances, with many cases of rat poison being identified in the mixtures!
Not only are synthetic cannabinoids not what they are advertised to be, but they also have the potential of doing some real harm to the user. In 2018, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received 1,954 calls about synthetic cannabinoids, a figure which has thankfully fallen from its peak of 7,795 in 2015. To date, as many as 20 synthetic cannabinoid-related deaths have been reported, and this figure is growing all the time.
With statistics like these increasing as the months pass by, it appears that there is not enough awareness around synthetic cannabinoids, and just how dangerous they can be.
How Are Synthetic Cannabinoids Consumed?
Much like cannabis, synthetic cannabinoids are most commonly smoked; this can be done in the traditional way, or through an e-cig or vaporizer device.
The product itself will often resemble the real thing, with the synthetic cannabinoids usually being dried and scattered over already shredded plant material. So for those individuals who are new to the cannabis industry, it can be very easy to make the mistake of thinking these synthetic drugs are genuine marijuana.
What We Already Know About Synthetic Cannabinoids
With the issues around synthetic cannabinoids being so current, there are unfortunately very limited amounts of relevant research into the side effects and dangers of these drugs on the human body.
However, a study published in 2016 in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that synthetic cannabinoids were a shocking 85 times more potent than the THC that is found in the marijuana plant!
When we consider the reality of these findings, it is easier to understand just how dangerous these drugs can be. There have now been enough serious cases for us to be able to recognize the most common and harmful side effects of synthetic cannabinoids. It is important to understand, however, that many of the initial side effects can strongly resemble those of THC, which is often the reason why so many people go back to the drug time after time – they simply don’t realize the potential dangers.
However, here is a list of the side effects that can occur as a result of consuming synthetic cannabinoids:
- Extreme anxiety
- Rapid heart rate
- Reduced blood pressure
- Suicidal thoughts
- Violent behavior
- Reduced blood supply to the heart
- Kidney damage
- Severe bleeding
Synthetic Cannabinoids: What To Look Out For
So, we know what synthetic cannabinoids can do, but how do we distinguish them from the real thing? It is often the case that those targeted by sellers of synthetic cannabinoids are of a young age, and perhaps less aware of the dangers surrounding the current problem.
While the mixture put into synthetic cannabinoids changes regularly, there are certain things you can look out for that tend to remain the same. Knowing these few things can allow you to recognize when you are offered a potentially harmful drug.
Synthetic cannabinoids are commonly sold under a variety of different brand names, the most used of which can be found below:
- Black Mamba
If you are offered anything under these names, do not agree. The likelihood of the substance being harmless has proven to be very slim, and you won’t know exactly what you are consuming.
It is also important to recognize what sort of packaging these products are sold in; most are produced and placed into brightly colored bottles or packages to make them more appealing to potential customers, and in particular, the younger generation who are less likely to question the contents.
We would never recommend purchasing cannabis, or any other drug from an unauthorized source. However, any reputable seller will be able to provide full ingredients and information about the source of the weed. Making yourself aware of these small details can ultimately make all the difference.
Synthetic Cannabinoids: Final Thoughts
While we recognize the difficulties that surround the subject of synthetic cannabinoids, we do want to ensure people are clear on the reality of these drugs.
Because the chemical composition of synthetic cannabinoids is regularly altered to avoid any legal action, the battle to get these things taken off the streets is an uphill one. It is for these reasons that it’s so vital more awareness be raised into the drugs, and why they need to be avoided.