All drugs come with some level of danger, but being informed can help determine levels of safety. Understanding the difference between Marijuana and Synthetic Marijuana can also be empowering.
Many people equate THC as a high component of Marijuana. Did you know there are 2 types of receptors involved with this process that affects the body?
Cannabinoids are naturally occurring in the body and can attach to those receptors when Marijuana is consumed. There are synthetic forms of these receptors that can mimic those feelings in the body as well.
The two active compounds of Marijuana are THC and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is a CB1, CB2 receptor agonist. CB1 receptors attachment causes a high side effect in the body.
CBD by itself still bind to both CB1 and CB2, but weakly to CB1, therefore not causing that high feeling, but can act as an anti-inflammatory response in the body.
Synthetic Cannabinoids = Synthetic Marijuana
Synthetic cannabinoids are man-made mind-altering chemicals that are sprayed on dried, shredded plant material so they can be consumed. Smoked or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices. These products are also known as herbal or liquid incense.
These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are similar chemicals found in the marijuana plant. Due to the comparison, synthetic cannabinoids are sometimes misleadingly called "synthetic marijuana" or ("fake weed"), and they are often marketed as safe, legal alternatives to that drug.
They are not safe and may affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana; their actual effects can be unpredictable and, in some cases, more dangerous or even life-threatening.
Synthetic cannabinoids are part of a group of drugs called new psychoactive substances or NPS. NPS are unregulated mind-altering substances that have saturated on the market and are intended to produce the same effects as illegal drugs. Some of these substances may have been around for years but have reentered the market in altered chemical forms, or due to renewed popularity.
Synthetic cannabinoids act on the same brain cell receptors as THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the mind-altering ingredient in marijuana.
Since the chemical composition of many synthetic cannabinoid products is unknown and may change from batch to batch, these products are likely to contain substances that cause significantly different effects than the user might expect.
Synthetic cannabinoid users report some effects like those produced by marijuana:
- elevated mood
- altered perception—awareness of surrounding objects and conditions
- symptoms of psychosis—delusional or disordered thinking detached from reality
Psychotic effects include:
- extreme anxiety
- paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
- hallucinations—sensations and images that seem real though they are not
Marijuana: A common street and recreational drug that comes from the marijuana plant: the hemp plant Cannabis Sativa. The pharmacologically active ingredient in marijuana is tetra-hydro-cannabinol (THC). Marijuana is used to heighten perception, affect mood, and relax. Many people think marijuana is harmless, but it is not. Signs of marijuana use include red eyes, lethargy, and uncoordinated body movements. The long-term effects may include a decrease in motivation and harmful effects on the brain, heart, lungs, and reproductive system.
Though Marijuana can provide many pain-relieving properties and used to relieve nausea and vomiting, commonly associated with chemotherapy for cancer patients and to treat loss of appetite in AIDS patients. It does come with risks and should be treated with the safety of consumption.
We are still learning the long-term effects of this drug on variant ages. Dosage recommendations for treatment are also widely controversial.