“I don’t want anyone to think these substances are anything like marijuana”
If you thought marijuana was supposed to be pretty harmless, you’re probably confused right now. But the synthetic stuff is a whole different beast.
What Is Synthetic Marijuana?
Synthetic cannabinoids are unregulated, mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed onto dried, shredded plant material so they can be smoked, or are sold as liquids meant to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s also known as spice, K2, and Black Mamba.
These drugs are anything but safe, says medical toxicologist Patrick Lank, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. He steers away from even referring to them as “fake weed” or “synthetic marijuana” because he says, “I don’t want anyone to think these substances are anything like marijuana. The medical complications from them are much more severe and really hard to predict.”
According to the CDC, synthetic marijuana affects the same parts of the brain that THC does (the active chemical in marijuana). However, the synthetic stuff doesn’t actually contain THC and instead contains a mix of chemicals very different from THC—with very different effects on your body.
Side Effects Of Synthetic Marijuana
Seizures, heart attacks, and kidney failure have been linked with use of synthetic marijuana. Elevated blood pressure, vomiting, and agitation can also occur, says Lank.
The bleeding complication seen in the Illinois cases is new, though. Lank says he’s hearing about spontaneous nose bleeds, bleeding from the gums, people vomiting blood, blood in the stool and urine, and an abnormal amount of menstrual bleeding.
By Mary Brophy Marcus – Womens Health Mag
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