Synthetic Cannabinoids: What are They?
You can probably guess the origins of synthetic cannabinoids. But to clarify: they are cannabinoids created synthetically in a lab, as opposed to cannabinoids derived from natural, organic cannabis. One of the most notorious synthetic cannabinoid products is “K2,” otherwise known as “Spice.” You might also see these synthetics referred to as designer drugs, fake weed, or other pseudonyms.
No matter what you call them, however, one key fact remains: synthetic cannabinoids affect the brain in a variety of detrimental ways. The overall effects of synthetic cannabinoids have been linked to:
- Moderate to severe anxiety
- Rapid heart rate
- Nausea and vomiting
- Violent behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
Furthermore, those taking synthetic cannabinoid products are at risk of kidney damage, seizures, reduced blood supply to the heart, high blood pressure, and symptoms of toxicity. Needless to say, synthetic cannabinoids like K2/Spice are NOT good for you.
A Brief Overview of Synthetic Cannabinoid Products
As we mentioned above, K2/Spice is considered one of the most infamous synthetic cannabinoid products. But what is K2/Spice? As per its definition as a synthetic cannabinoid, K2/Spice is composed of various man-made chemicals that imitate the effects of natural cannabinoids like THC.
K2/Spice is most commonly sold in liquid form. However, to give the appearance of genuine, organic cannabis, some manufacturers will spray K2/Spice onto other plant materials. Users can then smoke this K2-sprayed plant material like they would traditional marijuana. Users also report dipping cigarettes in K2/Spice or putting the synthetic cannabinoid products into their vape devices.
K2/Spice is considered one of the most notorious synthetic cannabinoid products because it rose to popularity around the marijuana hype of the 2010s. In 2010, for example, 11,000 people were admitted to the ER as a result of synthetic cannabinoids like K2/Spice. Unfortunately, hospitalizations only increased over the following years.
The Negative Effects of Synthetic Cannabinoids
There are clearly some adverse side effects associated with synthetic cannabinoids. So how do designer drugs of this nature affect the brain? For starters, these drugs can have a profound negative impact on your mental clarity. K2/Spice users have shown signs of:
- Decreased cognitive ability
- Violent behavior
- Suicidal tendencies
- Anxiety and depression
These side effects contract the so-called “benefits” of what synthetic cannabinoids are supposed to offer users. Marketers will say that these synthetics improve your mood and induce relaxation, among other claims. This is not the case. In fact, false advertisers liken K2/Spice to traditional cannabinoids. However, organic cannabinoids interact with brain receptors and play a role in mediating homeostasis within the body. Synthetic cannabinoids get you high at a significant cost to your health and wellness.
The two are not the same.
Why Use Synthetic Cannabinoid Products Over the Real Thing?
With all the bad news surrounding synthetic cannabinoids, why use them? Let’s remember that CBD products were only legalized at the federal level in 2018, under the 2018 Farm Bill. By that point, recreationally legal marijuana was only available in a handful of U.S. states.
If you had the unfortunate pleasure of living in an anti-cannabis state, you might not have had access to cannabis. But synthetic cannabinoids like K2/Spice were available everywhere: the local liquor store, head shops, and the like.
Synthetic cannabinoids were accessible, increasing the popularity of their use. And as cannabis (particularly marijuana) continued to grow in popularity nationwide, users in anti-cannabis states were left behind. Instead of driving across state lines to purchase legal cannabis, why not just settle for fake weed, right? WRONG. But many cannabis users learned the hard way about synthetic cannabinoids.
Is Synthetic Cannabinoid Use on the Rise?
Not that we can tell. However, K2/Spice use has been seemingly consistent for years. As legal cannabinoids like CBD and THC become more accessible, the use of synthetics declines. However, until every U.S. state legalizes recreational cannabis, we will still find K2/Spice on the streets.
Are Synthetic Cannabinoid Products Considered Legal?
Overwhelmingly no. In 2011, the DEA utilized emergency procedures to temporarily schedule some of the substances found within synthetic cannabinoids. However, manufacturers could simply tweak some of the chemistry, creating slightly new variants of K2/Spice that were legal under federal law.
That all changed when President Obama signed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act. This permanently banned several different classes of synthetic cannabinoids and other designer drugs like bath salts, synthetic opioids, and more. As a result, most synthetic cannabinoids are classified as Schedule I substances, a group that includes substances like heroin and ecstasy.
CBD Choice: Helping You Avoid Synthetic Cannabinoids
At CBD Choice, we believe natural is always better. Beyond that, we want to give everyone the tools to improve their personal health and wellness regimens. Synthetic cannabinoids do NOT fall in line with our beliefs.
Instead, opt for synthetic-free CBD products! All of our CBD goods are third-party lab tested to ensure that you are getting 100% natural cannabinoids. We also guarantee that our products are free from nasty chemicals, manufacturing byproducts, and unwanted fillers.
The cannabinoid industry is about self-improvement. Together, we’ll build a better cannabis future and eradicate synthetic cannabinoid products from the market!