“Legal Weed”, as synthetic marijuana is often called, is neither legal, nor is it really “weed”, or, marijuana. In fact, there is almost nothing similar about synthetic marijuana to the regular stuff.
Marijuana is a naturally occurring substance, from the cannabis plant. The flowers of the plant are cut off and trimmed, the ground up and used for smoking, cooking, or other uses. Currently, marijuana is only legal at state level and in just a few states. Other states have medicalized marijuana, making it available to patients who have been evaluated by a doctor and given a prescription. At the federal level, however, marijuana still isn’t legal. As it stands, it is a Schedule I drug, labeling it as harmful and dangerous. Though the plant is used for medical treatments, it is still considered as dangerous as drugs like heroin and cocaine.
Getting “high” on marijuana is due largely to THC and cannabinoids, the active chemicals in the substance. Often called the “gateway drug” inspiring people to try other psychoactive drug substances, marijuana has been consistently proven to be less dangerous than alcohol. It is possible to develop an addiction-like dependency on marijuana as well as develop a tolerance to it. Recently, the DSM-V listed “marijuana use disorder” under substance use disorders, which is their section on addiction.
Currently, there is not record of an overdose death on marijuana.
Sold as potpourri or other “natural” home products, synthetic marijuana can be found in smoke shops, gas station stores, or convenience stores, as well as sold illegally on the street. Under names like “spice” and “K-12” synthetic marijuana is relatively innocuous until it is ingested. Quite obviously, one difference between marijuana and synthetic marijuana is the fact that one is natural and one is synthetic. Synthetic drugs are unpredictable, strong in potency, and rarely the same. While marijuana is always marijuana, synthetic marijuana is not always made with the same formula. Synthetic drugs are known to cause psychosis, elevated heart rate, heart failure, or seizure. Highly addictive, users will return to synthetic marijuana over and over despite horrific side effects. In recent years, areas like Brooklyn saw dozens of overdoses occurring at once due to synthetic marijuana.
Recovery is great. Synthetic drugs are not. If you or a loved one are having a problem with marijuana or synthetic marijuana, recovery is possible for you. Call Lakehouse Recovery Center today for information on our detox services and residential treatment programs: 877.762.3707