A bit of somewhat surprising news has come out this week about a new federal research grant that was received by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Apparently the National Institute on Drug Abuse has supplied the university with $2.7 Million for a five year study on the dangers of synthetic cannabis, also known as spice. The study hopes to reveal what it is about synthetic marijuana that makes it so much more dangerous than actual cannabis. The seven members of the research team plan to do tests on human cells as well as mice to get their information. They’ll also be collecting information from people admitted to hospitals for spice and K2 use at UAMS and in New York.
While all of the information might not be in on exactly why these synthetic substances are so much more toxic than cannabis, we’ve known for a while now that there’s no denying they are much more dangerous. It actually makes me kind of angry that researchers would receive such a massive federal grant to study something we know for a fact is harmful, when other scientists have to jump through countless hoops to be able to study cannabis. Since this study is just getting started and will last five years, I figured it would be nice to refresh all of you on what we do already know about this awful drug. Synthetic marijuana has a lot of confusion surrounding it, mainly because the people that market it blatantly lie about the product constantly. In short, it’s ground up plant material from a variety of plants that is then sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids that work as psychoactive compounds. The resulting product is a gross tasting and very toxic drug that is advertised and sold in countless ways. Often known as Spice or K2, this nasty drug has put hundreds of people in the hospital for things like extreme anxiety and hallucinations to name a few. Many people have flocked to the drug because of it’s misleading “natural” advertising and because of it’s inability to show up on most drug tests.
For years you could find these products at gas stations and head shops, often accompanied by a ridiculous claim that they are purely incense not meant for human consumption. At first states started to crack down on specific brands or chemical components that were causing problems. Unfortunately retailers were quick to rebrand or slightly alter the chemical makeup to slide under the radar. Thankfully now all 50 states have made these products illegal and some like Illinois have special laws against the despicable false advertising that these companies would practice. Many online retailers are willing to take that risk however and continue to sell spice. Please be aware that this substance is no joke and even if you’ve already tried it, there is virtually no way of knowing the chemical makeup of your current batch. Some of the worst side effects can be vomiting, suicidal thoughts, violent behavior, seizures, and kidney damage. Not to mention the growing number of deaths reported associated with using this drug. Synthetic cannabis has also been shown to be addictive with fairly bad withdrawals symptoms. No matter what this study reveals about why this drug affects people so much differently than cannabis, it is incredibly clear already that this substance has no place in our society. I urge you to never try it, even once.