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The Dangers of Synthetic Drugs: Spice

Synthetic drugs are substances that are chemically similar to controlled substances, or mimic the effects of other drugs. These substances, such as Spice and bath salts, are often sold legally in gas stations and convenience stores. Although designer drugs are chemically different from the controlled substances they are mimicking, they are no less dangerous, and in some cases, can be more dangerous.

Synthetic drugs contain a wide array of different chemicals. Tricia Escobedo, in a 2013 CNN Health article entitled What You Need to Know About Synthetic Drugs, explains, “There is no exact definition, because the term is used to describe a wide range of chemical products that are ever-changing. Synthetic marijuana and ‘bath salts’ are the most common of these drugs, which are often sold as incense or plant food. Unlike drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, these drugs do not come from plants; they are manmade. Synthetic marijuana consists of drug chemicals that are sprayed on plant materials and sometimes marketed as potpourri.” The labeling of these drugs as ‘potpourri’ or ‘incense’ allows them to be bought legally. As soon as one synthetic substance is made illegal, manufacturers alter the molecular structure of the substance to create a new uncontrolled substance.

Often, these chemicals are more dangerous than the substances they are mimicking. Spice, for example, is a form of synthetic marijuana that may be much more dangerous that natural marijuana. According to Dr. Nora D. Volkow’s presentation at the 2013 Caucus on International Narcotics Control, “Very little is known about both the short- and long-term health effects of consuming Spice products, but we have reason to think that their potential health risks may be even more serious than those associated with marijuana use. The fact is that these synthetic cannabinoids have not been tested in humans—so we don’t know how long they stay in the body, how they are metabolized or broken down, at what doses their psychological or physiological effects occur, and how toxic they are.  Further, the cannabinoids found in these products bind much more strongly to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain than THC itself, which could lead to more powerful and unpredictable effects, including severe episodes of acute psychotic effects like extreme anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations.” Other health consequences of using Spice include agitation, seizures, high blood pressure, vomiting, irregular heartbeat and “can reduce blood supply to the heart and in a few cases, it has been associated with heart attacks,” according to Dr. Volkow.

Your health doesn’t have to be diminished as a result of addiction. You can make the decision to seek help now and begin building a brighter future in sobriety. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, offers a safe, supervised detoxification process, a residential program or any treatment model in between. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction or alcoholism, please call today: (833) 242-6431