“Spice,” or synthetic marijuana, refers to a variety of herbal mixtures that cause effects similar to that of cannabis. Popular among teens, these products are marketed as safe, natural, legal alternatives to marijuana, but they are far from that. Dealing with drug addiction and the dangers of synthetic marijuana, a long term drug addiction program should be considered for treatment.
What Is Spice?
Spice contains a combination of dry, shredded plant material and chemical additives. Many Spice products boast effects from “natural” mind-altering plant materials, but this is false advertising. Chemical analyses show that active psychoactive compounds in these products are actually synthetic, or designer, in nature. Spice closely resembles potpourri or incense, and is most often smoked, although it can also be prepared as an herbal tea infusion.
Other names for synthetic marijuana include:
- Fake Weed
- Yucatan Fire
- Black Mamba
- Moon Rocks
Easily Accessible To High School Students
Available at gas stations, large retail outlets, head shops, and of course, the Internet, Spice is readily available for teens looking to purchase it. Furthermore, the chemicals contained in these products are not easily detectible in a drug test, making this harmful drug even more appealing to teens. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Spice is the second most abused drug by high school seniors. Nearly 8% of 12th graders have used Spice in the last year.
Because the chemicals found in Spice have no medical benefit and are easy to abuse, the DEA has classified the five most common chemicals found in these products Schedule 1 Controlled Substances—making it illegal to buy, sell, or possess them. To counter this restriction, companies continually substitute different chemicals into their products, finding legal loopholes to get around the DEA’s ruling.
Why Is Spice So Dangerous?
Often labeled “not for human consumption,” Spice can bind to cannabinoid receptors 1000 times stronger than traditional marijuana. Because chemical compositions are often unclear, these drugs can have powerful and unpredictable results on users.
The effects of using Spice include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Ischemic stroke
- Altered mental state
- Cardiac toxicity
- Extreme anxiety
Case Study: Spice Can Kill
As this dangerous drug becomes more popular, tragic stories continue to emerge. And, it’s not just the so-called “troubled kids” that suffer the consequences. Like the heart-breaking story this past July of a 19 year-old California boy who, after smoking just one hit of synthetic marijuana, quickly slipped into a coma from brain swelling and never woke up.
It’s not unusual for teens to experiment and engage in reckless behavior without knowing the true risks involved, especially when that behavior seems trendy or exciting. Teens will also go against their better judgment when faced with peer pressure. Being informed as a parent is the first step to protecting your teen.
Talk to your teen about the dangers of using Spice, and if necessary take the required measures to ensure that your teen doesn’t end up in the emergency room, or worse. Drug addiction is a serious issue, and considering a long term drug addiction program may be the first step in the right direction. For more information, contact Rites of Passage at (800)794-0980.