Synthetic cannabis is the term used for artificial, chemical compounds that mimic THC, the psychoactive compound of cannabis. Synthetic forms of cannabis are very potent and dangerous and are linked to deaths and illnesses.
A synthetic chemical is sprayed onto a base material (often plant-based). The resultant product attempts to mimic the effect of natural cannabinoids. Synthetic pot also goes by many different names: Spice, K-2, fake weed, Yucatan Fire, Bliss, Blaze, Skunk, Moon Rocks, and JWH-018, -073. Synthetic cannabis is not even close to being the same substance as pot.
Synthetic cannabinoids act on the same brain cell receptors as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
So far, there have been few official scientific studies on the effects of synthetic cannabinoids on the human brain, but researchers do know that some of them bind more strongly than marijuana to the cell receptors affected by THC, and may produce much stronger effects. The resulting health effects can be unpredictable because the chemical composition of these fake cannabinoid products is unregulated and may change from batch to batch, depending on where and how they are produced.
The adverse effects of fake cannabis are often severe and can include hypertension, tachycardia, myocardial infarction, agitation, nausea, hallucinations, seizures, convulsions, panic attacks and death. Other symptoms include accelerated heartbeat, high blood pressure, blurred vision and heart attacks.
Why do people just use synthetic cannabis instead of just using the natural plant? Marijuana is designated as a Schedule 1 drug, that is a dangerous drug with no medicinal benefits. It is illegal in many states in the US and illegal in many countries around the world. In order to side-step these laws that make cannabis illegal, synthetic cannabis has proliferated and is sold under various brand names, usually marketed as herbal incense or herbal medicine.
Easy access and the belief that synthetic cannabinoid products are natural and harmless have likely contributed to their use and standard drug tests cannot easily detect many of the chemicals used in these products.
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