Dr. Estis's Insights

Learning the Dangers of Synthetic Marijuana Part 1

Recently Lydia, who attempts to maintain proper sentence structure to the blogs, related that research regarding bloggers reveals that they like information regarding synthetic marijuana.  If that is the case how many bloggers are still active users?  Are non-using recovering people blogging about details associated with various drugs which would only increase the desire or cravings to use?

Saying the words, “synthetic marijuana”, remind me of something one of my favorite aunts said to me 40 years ago.  I had just got married and she sent a card with a gratefully needed financial gift.  Within the card she related the words, “Now that you are married you may from time to time be tempted to leave the house to seek margarine while at your home you already possess butter…  Just remember if you give way to your temptation and embrace a substitute, your life will most likely end in the gutter.”  Of course, she was utilizing metaphors to express the woman that I had married was much better than anything that any synthetic temptation that may come along.

Now, I am not suggesting anyone smoke illegal marijuana because it is “the real thing.”  Anyone who desires to consume drugs by drinking, smoking, snorting, and/or even needles will justify and explain the consumption.  After numerous years of counseling numerous individuals, especially opiate dependent persons, relate that their initial drug of choice was marijuana.  However, one can go to the internet and discover that persons are posting that marijuana is not a “gateway drug”.

The following information is directly from the internet that anyone can easily explore for oneself…

Spice users report experiences similar to those produced by marijuana—elevated mood, relaxation, and altered perception—and in some cases the effects are even stronger than those of marijuana. Some users report psychotic effects like extreme anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations.

So far, there have been no scientific studies of Spice’s effects on the human brain, but we do know that the cannabinoid compounds found in Spice products act on the same cell receptors as THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. Some of the compounds found in Spice, however, bind more strongly to those receptors, which could lead to a much more powerful and unpredictable effect. Because the chemical composition of many products sold as Spice is unknown, it is likely that some varieties also contain substances that could cause dramatically different effects than the user might expect.

Spice abusers who have been taken to Poison Control Centers report symptoms that include rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion, and hallucinations. Spice can also raise blood pressure and cause reduced blood supply to the heart (myocardial ischemia), and in a few cases it has been associated with heart attacks. Regular users may experience withdrawal and addiction symptoms.

We still do not know all the ways Spice may affect human health or how toxic it may be, but one public health concern is that there may be harmful heavy metal residues in Spice mixtures. Without further analyses, it is difficult to determine whether this concern is justified.


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