A very popular drug today is synthetic marijuana. It’s sometimes referred to as “Spice” and is surprisingly very easy to attain. In fact, in Southern California, there are many smoke shops and even gas stations that sell Spice. The fact that the drug is so easy to get your hands on can be dangerous for teens as well as recovering addicts.

Some might say that the drug is not harmful. Spice, also known as K2, has similar effects on its users as marijuana. Spice actually contains synthetic cannabinoids, which are used in an attempt to avoid the laws that make marijuana illegal. The use of synthetic cannabinoids instead of natural herbs makes Spice a designer drug. This means that it is unnaturally produced. Furthermore, designer drugs are continually changing in order to stay legal. The makers of designer drugs will continue to make alterations to the drug’s ingredients in order to stay one step ahead of the law.  These alterations include using all sorts of ingredients that aren’t natural at all. In fact, if you ask a user of Spice, he or she will often report that they’re not sure what’s in it. Sadly, ingredients such as lighter fluid and even household cleaning products are reported to be in the drug.

Although it might lead to having pleasant feelings at the start, Spice can also cause vomiting, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, seizures, and hallucinations. The synthetic version of THC (the compound in marijuana that creates euphoria in its users) was originally created with the intent to use it for medical purposes. However, since then, others have abused the synthetic version, just as they would marijuana. In fact, it is possible to lose your life to the drug, as in the case of one 19-year old boy.

Because of the dangers of the drug, many states are attempting to make it illegal. New Jersey, for instance, announced a ban on the drug in February of 2012. Since then, there has been a 77% drop in synthetic marijuana incidents, and the Poison Control hotline reports that calls regarding synthetic marijuana exposure dropped by a third. In California, there was a ban on an ingredient that Spice has, but the drug itself is still legal as long as it doesn’t contain this particular ingredient. In Ventura County, there are a total of 32 smoke shop locations where undercover detectives seized more than 43 pounds of spice. Several other states have passed laws making it illegal under state law, including Kansas, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri, Louisiana, and Iowa. It’s clear that the drug can be lethal and if not so then incredibly dangerous. And for this reason, states are doing what they can to make the substance illegal.

The damaging effects of these drugs might not only require drug treatment but also psychotherapy, drug counseling, and possibly medical attention. If you or someone you know is using Spice, it’s essential that you contact a mental health provider today.

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