What is Synthetic Weed and Why is it Hazardous?
With cannabis legalization taking root across the United States, there are a number of impostor products masquerading as “synthetic weed,” more commonly referred to as K2 or Spice.
Usually made of a mixture of herbs, spices, or shredded plant material, K2 contains lab-made synthetic compounds sprayed onto the material that can result in potentially dangerous effects when consumed.
Synthetic marijuana raised alarm in the media in May 2018, when more than 50 Brooklyn residents overdosed on K2 within the span of a few days. The epidemic spurred city officials into action, as Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a multi-agency initiative on April 12, 2019, that included clinical guidance for mental health professionals and emergency room staff for patients who have consumed synthetic cannabinoids. The perils of synthetic weed have also struck other regions of the United States. In July 2018, officials from Washington, D.C., claimed that a bad batch of synthetic marijuana was potentially connected to four deaths and sickened more than 100.
Despite attempts to control the hazardous effects of so-called synthetic weed, it seems few have attempted to comprehend how this substance differs from other synthetic cannabinoids made in a laboratory setting. K2, Spice, and other synthetic cannabinoids are typically referred to as synthetic weed or marijuana, but this term is scientifically inaccurate.
This lack of understanding has sparked confusion among those who might hear the term “synthetic cannabinoids” and instantly think about the perilous fake weed that has caused intense paranoia, hallucinations, and in some cases, overdoses. The full truth about synthetic cannabinoids, however, is buried somewhere underneath the nationwide synthetic weed scandal.
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