Known as K2 or spice, synthetic marijuana is a growing epidemic, due much in part to its murky legality and widespread availability at gas stations and convenience stores. Although technically banned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 2012, manufacturers of the designer drug alter the chemical makeup slightly, allowing them to eschew the currently banned list of compounds associated with spice.
Although there has been some unfortunate anecdotal evidence about the dangers that synthetic marijuana poses (such as the case with Emily Bauer, who ended up slipping into a coma and becoming blind and paralyzed from spice bought in a convenience store), very few scientific studies have been carried out on the subject. However, a University of South Florida neurology team studied two healthy, young siblings whom experienced ischemic strokes (characterized by a reduction in blood flow to the brain) after smoking spice in an attempt to determine whether the synthetic drug was the cause.
Despite screening the twins for undiagnosed genetic conditions that could have predisposed them to heart disease, the researchers could not find anything. Although the samples that the young adults had initially ingested were lost, making an analysis of the chemical compounds and any possible causal evidence impossible, past studies have found one of the chief psychoactive ingredients in K2, JWH-073, has been found in some chemical fertilizers, carrying traces of dangerous heavy metals. Other preliminary studies have linked spice to seizures and hallucinations, in addition to abnormal heart rhythms and heart attacks, with the reported number of strokes from the drug steadily rising in recent years.
“More physicians need to be more aware of the potentially toxic effects of recreational synthetic drugs, especially when seeing conditions like heart attack or stroke not as common in young patients,” said Dr. Burgin, lead author of the study.
Due to its enhanced ability to bind to the brain and gastrointestinal tract’s natural cannibinoid receptors, spice is exponentially more potent than organic marijuana, estimated to be 100 to 800 times stronger. To compound matters, there are currently no portable means of testing for the drug, enabling it to continue to fly under the radar of drug laws and law enforcement. Fortunately, extreme cases such as Emily Bauer’s are rare considering spice is the most popular drug in high schools, second only to organic marijuana, with almost 10 percent of high school seniors having used the drug in the past year, according to some studies.
Sovereign Health has extensive experience in the treatment of designer drugs such as synthetic marijuana, offering natural, holistic options in our detox and brain wellness programs. If you would like more information, feel free to check out the videos in our reviews section or contact us today.
Written by Sovereign Health Group writer, Chase Beckwith