Synthetic cannabinoids (marijuana), popularly termed “K2” and/or “spice”, have drastically increased in popularity in the last decade. These so-called designer drugs are produced such that they mimic the effects of marijuana, but are currently not an illegally banned substance.
Therefore, this allows for their importation and distribution to occur legally. These research chemicals, despite their ready availability, can be downright dangerous. This is evidenced by over 28,000 trips to the emergency room being reported in the year 2011 due to synthetic cannabinoids.
Approximately 177 different kinds of synthetic cannabinoids were identified as being used in these products in 2014, further adding to the unpredictable and dangerous nature of the drugs.
Due to the sheer number of different synthetic cannabinoids developed and amounts used in each batch, the short-term effects are often quite unpredictable. While most these drugs bind the same receptors that THC (primary psychoactive compound in marijuana), they typically also bind several other receptors thus causing a whole host of unattended side effects.
Documented side effects include paranoia, severe nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, increased heart rate and body temperature, psychosis, and violent mood swings. Finally, some of the synthetic cannabinoids have been shown to be toxic.
A major factor making synthetic cannabinoids particularly dangerous is the fact they are produced without any sort of human testing procedures and simply labeled “not for human consumption”.
Because of this lack of any sort of testing, the long-term effects of these drugs are currently unknown. There are, however, indications that various synthetic cannabinoids are responsible for possible long-term adverse physical and psychoactive effects.
Withdrawal from synthetic cannabinoids
Studies have shown that some heavy users of synthetic cannabinoids have demonstrated withdrawal symptoms when using ceased. These symptoms included irritability, agitation, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, and depression. These symptoms were significant enough that many of the patients within the trials received medication and treatment for them.
Treatment for synthetic cannabinoid abuse
Despite its current legality in most areas of the United States, synthetic cannabinoid abuse is a serious problem, which may require treatment in heavy users. Inpatient treatment for addiction provides the greatest chance of recovery for someone suffering from an addiction to synthetic cannabinoids. Inpatient treatment can help establish a new way of life in a recovery program that allows the patient to achieve long-term sobriety.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.