Getting high seems to be what a majority of kids and/or young adults want to have fun. It does not matter what the occasion is, there is always a reason to high. Whether it is a festival, a concert, or a party, they want to be under the influence of something. Cannabis happens to be a very popular choice for many people. It is even making moves through Congress to be fully legalized for recreational use. Would that not be a joyful day for stoners everywhere? However, within the last couple of years a new synthetic form of cannabis came into the market whose use has been becoming a pandemic.
This is no argument for legalizing marijuana, but there is without doubt that the rise of synthetic cannabis came from the banning of the herb for recreational use. It was made illegal once again. For the occasional toker who enjoys a tightly packed joint after a long stressful day at work might see the need to use “spice” (the street name for synthetic cannabis) if drug testing becomes a thing at the office. The synthetic cannabis does not show up on a drug test.
It is a considered a legal high, so anybody has access to it without issues with the law. Stores label it as an herbal incense not meant for consumption. It is supposedly a blend of various different herbs plus THC to induce the same effects smoking marijuana would have, but inspections have proven that one can never be sure what the packet they are holding really contains.
Synthetic cannabis is extremely addictive and people report having severe withdrawal symptoms when they put it down. It is also one of the more dangerous drugs. People may assume that just because it is a blend of herbs that there will be no harm, but that is simply not the case. The number of people being admitted to the hospital after the use of synthetic cannabis is becoming a pandemic. Per gram, the synthetic version comes out to be cheaper than the original which can persuade some buyers to go with the dangerous choice.
A study conducted called The Global Drug Survey 2015 revealed some fascinating results. Drug-users who consumed synthetic cannabis had a much higher probability to be admitted into the hospital than any other drug in the market. Consumers are also 30 times more likely to be admitted into the hospital than if they smoked highly-potent, hydroponic cannabis. The number of users who sought medical help after consumption jumped from 2.5 percent last year to 3.5 percent this year.
The rise of darknet has also made it possible to acquire more of these drugs discreetly. It takes away the shadiness of meeting somebody in a secluded place and ensures quality of the purchased drug. Synthetic cannabis was made illegal in the United States, but not in other countries where distributors are able to transport them discreetly.
The use of synthetic cannabis is not the only thing becoming an epidemic. There have been increases in hospitalization due to other drugs such as laughing gas and ecstasy. A new type of cannabis called hash has been increasing in popularity due to its ability to induce a much stronger and faster high.
Opinion by Frank Grados
BBC News – Synthetic cannabis more dangerous than skunk
The Huffington Post – Synthetic Cannabis Hospital Admissions Jump 30% As ‘Super Dose’ Ecstasy Floods Drugs Market
Global Drug Survey – The Global Drug Survey 2015 findings
Photo Courtesy of Guilhem Vellut’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License