Synthetic marijuana is a blend of herbs (plant-shredded material) mixed with man-made chemicals that induce mind-altering effects. The street name for fake pot is called “Spice.” In 2004, Spice was founded in the United Kingdom. By 2006, it gained considerable popularity and names like Spice and “K2” became generic terms for artificial cannabis. Spice, or K2, is not marijuana. However, the drug was created to mimic the effects of the medicinal plant while still remaining legal to use.
Retailers began to sell Spice via the Internet. It was advertised as natural herbs that could produce euphoria without the legal threats of marijuana use. Many initial consumers thought it to be a harmless alternative to pot smoking. While other buyers were fully aware that they were investing in something that could be potentially dangerous. Today, the liquid form of Spice is taking off due to the popularity of e-cigarettes and hookah pens. After years of being on the market, being accessible in gas stations and spreading across the world, people are beginning to discover the horrifying truths about Spice.
Countless Spice abusers have reported extreme side effects that have captured the attention of the medical community. In 2008, scientists began to investigate the ingredients of Spice and exposed shocking results. Instead of a simple combination of harmless herbs, research showed that the product was being sprayed with artificial cannabinoids. Synthetic cannabinoids are chemicals that are similar to the natural cannabinoid THC, found in cannabis. Spice may also contain traces of synthetic psychedelics.
Spice users can never be sure of what they are consuming and/or inhaling, because manufacturers continue to develop new chemicals in attempt to stay above the law. In May 2013, the Drug Enforcement Agency took action and formally banned synthetic marijuana as a Class I drug, making distribution and use illegal. Talk show host Wendy Williams recently revealed that she caught her teenage son smoking synthetic weed and was compelled to send him out of the country to receive treatment. She confessed to her audience that she feared for her son’s life. Doctors and scientists warn against experimentation with Spice and here are 10 horrifying effects that explain why.
Psychosis is an extreme mental disorder described as thoughts and emotions that are severely impaired. Psychosis indicates that someone is experiencing a lost sense or consciousness with reality. Spice users have been reported to suffer from psychotic maladies such as delusions and hallucinations. Delusions are false thoughts and beliefs that conflict with truth. Hallucinations are perceptions heard or seen that are not real but believed to be. In a study conducted at the Metropolitan Hospital Center in New York City, researchers studied the symptoms of 50 patients intoxicated from synthetic cannabis. The majority of the patients suffered from agitation, disorganized thoughts, paranoid delusions and chaotic behavior. Other common symptoms included suicidal thoughts (30%), anxiety (28%), depression (20%), and catatonia (0.05%).
9 Heart Attack
Heart attacks occur when the blood flow to the heart is blocked. Symptoms of a heart attack include intense chest pains, shortness of breath, cold sweats and/or nausea. Surprisingly, symptoms will progress slowly. Trauma can persist for hours, sometimes for days or even weeks before an attack strikes. A NIDA scientist named Marilyn A. Huestis warns that, “If you use [Spice], you’re experimenting on yourself.” In Dallas, Texas a news story reported on a group of teenagers who were rushed to an emergency room. The teens complained about excruciating chest aches and were horrified by what they learned. Doctors informed them that they had all suffered heart attacks. Subsequently, the adolescents were compelled to confess that they all had recently smoked synthetic marijuana.
When a cinematic flashback occurs within a scene, we all sit back in the movie theater and watch with anticipation in our eyes. However, for extreme drug abusers, flashbacks have a different meaning. A mental flashback is a sudden, disturbing and vivid memory of a past event in one’s life. This phenomenon is often caused by the psychological trauma of drugs, one being the notorious drug named Spice. A young man living in Florida say’s he was still plagued with flashbacks three months after quitting synthetic marijuana. His persistent agony included psychotic episodes and wretched thoughts. If this list hasn’t horrified you yet, the worst has yet to come.
7 Cardiac Arrest
Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death. Unlike a heart attack, it occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. The breakdown in the heart is triggered by an “electrical” problem, which causes an irregular heartbeat known as arrhythmia. Arrhythmia disturbs the heart’s pumping action and disables the heart from being able to send blood to the brain, lungs and other bodily organs. Within seconds, a person becomes unresponsive, loses the ability to breathe or begins to wheeze for dear life. Tragedy will occur to any victim who does not receive immediate attention. According to the Tampa Bay Times, a report released by the American College of Emergency Physicians documented a case in which a 58-year- old man died of cardiac arrest after using synthetic marijuana. The document also revealed that during a nine-month-period in 2010, 1,898 reports of health problems were caused by fake pot. The most commonly reported effect was irregular heartbeat.
6 Kidney Failure
Kidneys are organs that help filter waste products from the blood. They are also involved in regulating blood pressure, electrolyte balance and red blood cell production. Kidney failure is a condition in which the kidneys lose the ability to remove waste and balance fluids. According to the American Kidney Fund, kidney failure means that your kidneys stop working well enough for you to live without dialysis or a kidney transplant. Kidney failure can happen very suddenly (called acute renal failure) or slowly over time. In most cases, kidney failure is permanent. In one of the numerous associations with Spice and Kidney disease, the Wyoming Department of Health was notified by Natrona County public health officials regarding three patients hospitalized for unexplained acute kidney injury (AKI), all of who reported recent use of synthetic marijuana.
A seizure is a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain. The electrical activity is caused by complex chemical changes that occur in nerve cells. When Jake Suojanen began using Spice, his personality and grades suffered drastically. He was at risk for being ineligible for his high-school graduation, but it would take a horrific experience for Jake to face the truths about synthetic marijuana. After six months of Spice, a close friend found the-then 17-year-old Jake Suojanen seizing and vomiting on a bathroom floor. Jake was reported saying that the euphoria that surged through him was stronger than anything he’d ever felt. Jake survived, but others are not as fortunate.
A stroke, sometimes called a “brain attack”, occurs when damage to the brain is caused from the interruption of its blood supply. In many cases, it is more severe than a seizure. The symptoms of a stroke include numbness or weakness on one side of the body, loss of vision, confusion, inability to speak or understanding speech, dizziness, severe headache and temporary paralysis. Neurologists from the University of South Florida have established a link between synthetic pot use and its risk of causing a stroke. The Medical Daily reports that, “Emily Bauer, 17, was left brain damaged, paralyzed, and blind after smoking Spice with her friends… Cops were called to Emily’s house after a series of strokes turned into psychotic episodes and violent hallucinations. Doctors discovered an inflammation of blood vessels in the brain, known as severe vasculitis.” After nine months of recovery, Emily was able to return to school. Her family has been adamant about spreading the truth about Spice and its horrifying effects.
Addiction is a form of brain disease. It is an illness that makes drug users feel such a strong urge to take drugs that they cannot resist temptation, although he or she knows it will be harmful to themselves and the people around them. A man named David shared his story with Spice addiction while attending a protest rally against the drug. It was reported that David would wake up in the middle of the night to use Spice. One night while experiencing a psychotic episode, a friend caught David beating a wall with a bat. David was hallucinating and thought the wall was a person. David threw the bat at his friend’s feet and begged him to take his life. He never wanted to feel that way, or use Spice again. However, David revealed that his addiction grew stronger. Soon after, he smoked Spice again, and experienced more homicidal thoughts and sensations of paralysis. David made further claims that “he saw his demons everywhere.” He went on to say, “I became extremely addicted… I had to have it.”
These last two effects of synthetic marijuana are not only horrifying but devastating as well. A coma is the continuous state of unconsciousness. During a coma, a person is unresponsive to his or her environment. The person is alive and may appear to be sleeping. However, unlike sleep, the person cannot be awakened by any means, including pain. A teenager living in California went comatose after smoking synthetic marijuana. Like many parents and family members that have witnessed their loved one suffer from drug abuse, they want to warn others in order to prevent the grief that they have been struck with. On July 11, 2014, Connor Eckhardt smoked synthetic weed with his friends. Soon after smoking the drug, he fell into a coma with brain swelling. “In a moment of peer pressure, he gave into that, thinking that was OK, it was somehow safe, and one hit later, he goes to sleep and never wakes up,” said Connor’s father Devin Eckhardt. The teen had irreversible brain damage and his future will be described in the next horrifying effect.
We all know what death is and there’s no need to explain its definition or explain its symptoms. After slipping into a coma, 19-year-old Connor Eckhardt died due to the use of synthetic marijuana. Connor's parents have since fulfilled their son's wishes to donate his organs. They have also created a Facebook page in his memory. In 2015, Newsweek.com reported that the number of deaths due to the use of synthetic marijuana tripled. From January to May of this year, more than 14 deaths have been reported.
Be aware of synthetic marijuana and it various names, such as Spice, K2 and/or Fake Pot. Many families across the world are grieving about the horrifying effects that synthetic marijuana has had on loved ones. No drug is worth your future, not even Spice.