Synthetic Marijuana: All You Need To Know

As the rise of both the legalization and the popularity of cannabis sweeps America with daily increases in the number of people who are consuming cannabis, demand for its availability to be easily accessible, thereby making it easy for anyone to get high and relieve pain, is also growing.

Consequently, an increasing number of people who do not have access to traditional cannabis are turning to the next best thing that will give them the same desired effects that natural pot does. Hence, the growing popularity of synthetic marijuana is ever-rising.

Synthetic Marijuana: The Highlights

  • Synthetic marijuana, a drug that goes by many street names, is produced using man-made cannabinoids that affect the cannabinoid receptors in the body the same way that marijuana plant-derived THC does.
  • There are dangerous side-effects, both short and long-term, that can take place after taking synthetic marijuana, such as vomiting, severe bleeding, and having strokes with lasting consequences
  • Although some types of synthetic marijuana have been approved for medical purposes and many synthetic cannabinoids have yet to be outlawed, the DEA currently prohibits the use of 50 of the 200 known synthetic cannabinoids.
  • Although more studies need to be done on the specifics of exactly why synthetic marijuana is harmful to the body, there is plenty of evidence that it is not a safe drug to take due to the many reported bleeding, vomiting, and even stroke and death cases that have popped up over the past few years.
  • With the many negative and even horrifying facts presented below, it is obvious that synthetic marijuana is extremely unsafe, both because it can cause health issues or death, and also because many forms are illegal.

What Is Synthetic Marijuana?

Synthetic Marijuana

Synthetic marijuana is essentially a man-made chemical, synthetic cannabinoids, that were invented by scientists in order to study the brain’s endocannabinoid system. This mind-altering drug causes the same effects on the cannabinoid brain receptors that the tetrahydrocannabinol THC, an active ingredient in marijuana, does.

Therefore, scientists invented over 700 synthetic compounds in order to find a legal way to study the effects of marijuana cannabinoids on the cannabinoid receptors in the brain.

The terms first used to name this synthetic cannabis was herbal incense or liquid incense and is now labeled as a part of a drug group called New Psychoactive Substances, or NPS. This drug is not regulated and is, many times, even more, powerful than real marijuana, giving the body the same highly potent sedative effect as other harsh drugs such as crack cocaine or heroin.

Hence, they are classified as a schedule one controlled substance, which is the same category as natural marijuana, heroin, and cocaine.

Synthetic marijuana is especially appealing to weed lovers who are either living in a state where consuming natural marijuana is illegal or to people who can’t afford traditional marijuana.

This is due to the fact that not only does synthetic pot not show up on a urine drug test like natural marijuana does, but also because it is cheap, being mass produced in Asian laboratories, and then sold in the U.S market for a cheap price.

Synthetic Marijuana Street Names

There is a multitude of synthetic marijuana products with the following street names:

  • Legal Bud
  • Fake weed
  • Herbal Buds
  • Herbal Smoke
  • Herbal Incense
  • Potpourri
  • K2
  • Nitro
  • Spice, one of the most popular synthetic marijuana products with over 700 names
  • Blueberry Haze
  • Blaze
  • Dank
  • Genie
  • Demon Passion Smoke
  • Magma
  • Hawaiian Hybrid
  • Ninja
  • Panama Red Ball
  • Ono Budz
  • Skunk
  • Spice
  • Sativah Herbal Smoke
  • Voodoo Spice
  • Ultra Chronic
  • Kronic
  • Black Mamba
  • Joker
  • Kush

These synthetic cannabinoid concoctions are generally found in convenience stores, gas stations, and more widely sold on the internet.

What Does Synthetic Marijuana Look Like?

Synthetic marijuana looks like dried tobacco leaves, or like traditional marijuana. These leaves have different colors such as brown, blonde, green, and red.

Although many synthetic marijuana products are sold in herb or leaf form, there are some that come in liquid form that you can spray onto your herbs and smoke.

A sure way you can know that you are getting synthetic marijuana, other than the name or the look, is the fact that it is packaged in small, colorful foil or plastic baggies that are two to three inches in size. They also can come in small, colorful plastic bottles.

What Are The Effects Of Synthetic Marijuana?

There are several alarming short and long-term effects of synthetic marijuana. The following should cause anyone to steer clear of fake weed:

Short-Term Effects

There have been many reported emergency room visits by people experiencing the following dangerous symptoms after using synthetic marijuana. The effects are alarming:

  • Vomiting
  • Severe bleeding
  • Violent behavior
  • Anxiety
  • rapid heart rate or palpitations
  • Paronia
  • Raise blood pressure
  • suicidal thoughts
  • Reduce blood supply to the heart
  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath

Long-Term Effects

Reported long-term effects of taking synthetic marijuana include:

  • Kidney damage
  • Heart Failure

Also, two separate stroke cases have been reported due to the harsh effects of synthetic marijuana called Spice. After taking Spice, these people started experiencing weakness on one whole side of their body and, after an emergency room visit, it was confirmed that they had experienced an ischemic stroke.

However, because many of the mysterious chemicals found in synthetic marijuana are largely unknown and unpredictable when combined together, and also because not much is known about the metabolites and toxicity of the known chemicals, it is hard to know the exact long-term effects that it would have on the human body.

Is Synthetic Marijuana Legal?

Synthetic cannabinoids are both legal and illegal. Why?

When the Drug Enforcement Agency, or the DEA, banned 50 synthetic compounds known as synthetic cannabinoids from being distributed, thereby classifying them as an illegal schedule one drug, they did not include the other 150 chemical compounds that are also synthetic weed.

This technically makes these 150 chemicals legal, or out from underneath the radar.

Therefore, manufacturers of chemical compounds are now able to sidestep the legal system by creating never-ending altered versions of these compounds by not only using the legal compounds that have yet to be outlawed but also by hiding them in their claimed “natural” herbal supplements using their claimed “plant material” as their cover-up.

However, apparently synthetic drugs aren’t always looked upon in a negative light. A 2017 report by the Pain News Network stated that the DEA approved a synthetic drug called Dronabinol for medical use to ease nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients and to stimulate appetite in AIDS patients.

Also, the Denver Post wrote about how synthetic marijuana called Nabilone helped Alzheimer’s patients. The drug lowered anxiety and pain and increased appetite in all 39 patients.

Is Synthetic Marijuana Safe?

Synthetic Marijuana


At this point in time, not much is known about the specifics of the toxicity levels of synthetic marijuana due to the lack of studies done on the chemicals. However, it is quite obvious that any type of synthetic chemical, especially when combined together with other synthetic drugs and shady materials, will not be good for the body and therefore, is inherently toxic to the point of being deadly.

This point is obvious in the scary fact that from 2014 to 2015, the deaths caused by overdoses of synthetic marijuana tripled. In just one year, the number of reported deaths caused by synthetic pot had increased dramatically.

Additionally, just this past year in 2018, contamination using the rat poison chemical called brodifacoum was found in some synthetic cannabinoid products. This chemical was used because it was thought to extend the length of a person’s psychoactive high. As a consequence, the people who consumed this contaminated synthetic weed have experienced severe bleeding and even death for a few individuals.

In March, Cook County’s medical examiner’s office detected this deadly brodifacoum in the fresh corpse of a young 22-year-old man. The Cook County article went on to state that “patients who admitted to smoking synthetic cannabinoids are presenting to hospitals with severe bleeding and testing positive for brodifacoum,” said Dr. Ponni Arunkumar, Cook County’s Chief Medical Examiner.”

Later, the Centers for Disease Control put out a national warning about synthetic marijuana drug abuse, stating that it is not fit for human consumption with the proof being that 180 people experienced severe bleeding and five deaths occurred.

Also, in August of 2018, the Chicago Sun-Times reported a whopping 76 overdoses at Connecticut Park near Yale. Victims were taken to the Yale-New Haven hospital and treated. There were severe symptoms such as vomiting and loss of consciousness for a long period of time.

It was revealed through a toxicology report that most of the victims that experienced overdose symptoms were intoxicated by the active ingredient cannabinoid called K2, which acts like THC but is much more potent. Despite this dangerous scare, no deaths occurred. However, the incident caused major publicity, even interviewing public health officials.

Addiction and Withdrawal

Synthetic marijuana is absolutely addictive and does cause withdrawal symptoms in those who have a chronic synthetic marijuana addiction. Typical symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Extreme compulsion to use again

The Truth About Synthetic Marijuana

The truth about synthetic marijuana is that is an extremely unsafe substance to use due to the extremely shady Asian laboratory practices of mixing plant materials with dangerous synthetic compounds. Additionally, many of these compounds are illegal.

Knowing that synthetic marijuana has many potential health hazards, even having the potential to cause death, along with the fact that you may not know if what your getting is actually legal or not, it is obvious that synthetic marijuana, in all its forms, is a drug that must be abstained from.

Knowing what synthetic marijuana looks like and the many names that are used to make this hazardous drug will help consumers of marijuana know exactly what they are getting and what to steer clear of for future purchases.