Synthetic cannabis goes by a never-ending list of names: Bliss, Blaze, Yucatan Fire, Fake Weed, Genie, Moon Rocks, JWH-018 and a host of other numerical codes. However, one of the chemists who designed the drug for research, John W. Huffman, PhD, admitted that he couldn’t think of a reason why anyone would try it recreationally. He likened its dangerous toxicity to playing Russian roulette and said that “people who use it are idiots.”
A far cry from actual pot — that has yet to cause anything more than a cop calling 911 on himself — synthetic weed has been linked to a rising number of overdoses. Just last month, after using the drug, a teen slipped into a fatal coma. The symptoms are severe and include kidney damage, convulsions, brain damage, seizure, stroke, and death.
The name itself is misleading, “synthetic marijuana” gives the impression that it’s the same substance as pot. Forbes points out that synthetic pot’s efficiency at binding and acting in the brain triggers the extreme effects, such as seizures and cardiac problems. Unlike THC, which only partially binds to CB1 receptors in the brain, synthetic cannabis activates those receptors with maximum efficacy. Translation: synthetic marijuana is a hundred times more potent than THC.
“The first rule of toxicology is, the dose makes the poison,” Jeff Lapoint, MD, explains.
I drink a cup of water, and I’m fine. I drink gallons of it in some college contest, and I could have a seizure and die. Synthetic cannabinoids are tailor-made to hit cannabinoid receptors – and hit it hard. This is NOT marijuana. Its action in the brain may be similar but the physical effect is so different.
The “physical effect” potentially being an unwanted overdose that’s a far cry from the typical pot “overdose.” When you take one too many rips from a bong, the most that happens is a long-winded conversation about existentialism, or KOing on the couch after demolishing an entire pizza. Overdosing on synthetic marijuana, however, isn’t so mellow. Lewis Nelson, MD, at NYU’s Department of Emergency Medicine, Division of Medical Toxicology, says:
Pot users are usually interactive, mellow, funny. Everyone once in a while we see a bad trip with natural marijuana. But it goes away quickly. With people using synthetic, they look like people who are using amphetamines: they’re angry, sweaty, agitated.
As for knowing what you’re getting in each batch of synthetic pot — don’t count on it. Synthetic weed is constantly evolving — in order to slip through legal loopholes — and usually made in an underground lab in China. The process of making the drug is crude — makers take a random herb on deck and spray it with synthetic cannabinoid. This creates “hot spots” where parts of the drug are drastically more potent than others.
Bottomline: Synthetic marijuana is not marijuana. It’s an entirely different drug and an unchecked case of false advertising.
~ The Fatal Truth About Synthetic Marijuana ~