K2 Side Effects

Signs and Symptoms of Synthetic Marijuana Addiction

Since the early 2000s, synthetic marijuana products like K2 and Spice have been easily accessible in gas stations, novelty shops, and the internet.

Although this “fake weed” looks like natural material and can produce a similar high to actual cannabis, it is extremely dangerous with severe adverse effects and life-threatening health consequences when ingested.

These synthetic substances are much more unpredictable and addictive than natural cannabis. And because they are so widely distributed and have no age restriction on purchase, it has become one of the more popular drugs among high school seniors.

The long-term impacts of its use can be devastating to a young adult’s life and their family.

What Is Synthetic Marijuana?

Synthetic (or artificial) marijuana, or synthetic cannabinoids, are chemicals created in labs that are sprayed onto dried plant material.

Many of these products are meant to be smoked and are sold as herbal incense, potpourri, or fake weed under many different brand names like K2 and Spice.

Alternatively, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), synthetic cannabinoids may also be manufactured and sold in their liquid form to be used in a vape pen or e-cigarette device.

When ingested, these chemicals are a dangerous health hazard in either form and typically carry a warning label that reads “not for human consumption.”

However, despite the warning labels, people use synthetic marijuana for its mind-altering effects.

The drug can act similarly in the body and attach to the same receptors in the brain as THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical compound in marijuana), but much more strongly.

Many of the chemicals used to create synthetic marijuana have been made illegal in the United States. Still, its manufacturers frequently change the chemical compounds of their mixtures to get around the law.

It is not unheard of that these fake weed products can quickly become contaminated by other dangerous substances at any point in their creation.

In some cases, synthetic marijuana has been laced with fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic drug.

Because it is impossible to know what might be inside any synthetic marijuana product, the list of potential adverse and harmful long-term effects of this illegal drug only gets longer.

synthetic marijuana

What Does Synthetic Marijuana Look Like?

Part of the reason why products like K2 or Spice are dangerous is that they can look so convincing.

The dried form of synthetic marijuana can look very similar to the real version of cannabis, just as the liquid form looks the same as any other vape juice or e-cigarette liquid.

This practice of disguising dangerous chemicals as familiar products tricks buyers into a false sense of security. Mimicking the look of regulated substances helps legitimize the manufacture and use of these drugs.

Synthetic marijuana products usually come packaged in bright, attractive foil packs to entice buyers from the shelf. Many brands of synthetic marijuana have unusual or exotic-sounding names to draw consumers’ attention or make it seem like it’s natural or a new product.

Additionally, fake weed is often marketed as avoiding detection on drug tests. For these reasons, young people are especially at risk for synthetic marijuana addiction and abuse.

K2 Side Effects

K2 and Spice are just two of many brand names of the same products that are supposed to produce a high like cannabis. Although, whether it’s K2, Spice, or any other brand, all synthetic marijuana products are unpredictable and dangerous in their effects.

Because these dangerous substances are created in labs by illegitimate scientists with no care for consistency, strength, or dosage of the drug, the chemical makeup of synthetic marijuana can vary wildly, even within a single batch.

Although synthetic marijuana or Spice users might be looking for a relaxed high, they can potentially face feelings of intense anxiety, severe agitation, paranoia, or suicidal thoughts.

There are also physical health risk factors to consider, including an increased, rapid heart rate, vomiting, or overdose. The risk increases with overdose for toxic reactions, kidney damage, seizure, and death.

The Effects and Dangers of K2/Spice

It is a dangerous roll of the dice to use synthetic marijuana products. The effects of synthetic cannabinoids are unpredictable. They can vary significantly from person to person and even use to use.

It cannot be overstated that synthetic marijuana or K2/Spice users are at risk for addiction, overdose, and death. This issue is ultimately a concern for the public’s health at large.

While many users of K2 or other synthetic types of marijuana are looking for a high like THC, any positive effects are usually very short-lived as the chemical makeup of these items can vary so widely, and the chemicals bond so strongly to brain cell receptors.

Many people have been admitted to emergency rooms after smoking or using the drug with physical symptoms like increased heart rates, difficulty breathing, seizures, and heart attacks.

Further, the psychotic effects of these drugs like anxiety, delusional thinking, or suicidal thoughts can seriously impact an individual’s mental and physical health in the long term.

However, these effects are not yet fully understood. Some studies and reports suggest that substance abuse of these products may trigger or worsen mental illness or health conditions, especially in younger patients.

The fact that synthetic marijuana products are so potent and their use is generalized mainly to younger populations makes their prevalence over the last twenty years profoundly concerning.

k2 effects

Signs and Symptoms of Synthetic Marijuana Addiction

Because of the dangerous effects of synthetic marijuana, it is critical to be aware of the signs and symptoms of synthetic marijuana addiction.

Young people who have histories of prior drug use or mental illness may be at heightened risk for abuse and dependence on the drug.

However, it is essential to remember that young adults are at risk because these products are widespread, in flashy packaging, and available with no age restrictions.

Addiction to these psychoactive substances can happen suddenly. Using these drugs begins casually enough but snowballs into a hazardous situation for many.

Symptoms of synthetic marijuana addiction include:

  • Psychosis or a detachment from reality
  • Disorganized or delusional thinking
  • Difficulty to stop using the drug

When attempting to quit a synthetic marijuana addiction, withdrawal effects include:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression


Because of its unpredictable nature, synthetic marijuana overdoses can happen anytime, even the first time the drug is used.

The risk of overdose increases significantly with repeated use or addiction.

Overdose of synthetic, psychoactive substances can look a lot like an opioid or heroin, overdose with symptoms including:

  • Violence
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Seizures
  • Heart attack
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Death
dangers of k2

Synthetic Marijuana Addiction Treatment

K2 or Spice addiction, overdose, and all the health effects that follow can be harmful and frightening experiences. Beginning to cope and heal from synthetic marijuana addiction is a difficult task that often requires additional support.

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction to synthetic marijuana, treatment is available. Northridge Addiction Treatment Center understands the severity of a Spice or K2 addiction. We provide around-the-clock medical care for a comfortable and safe medical detox to allow a fresh start into treatment.

Remember that the compounds that make up synthetic marijuana will not show up on a drug test. Therefore, it is essential, to be honest with your doctors and health practitioners about the frequency of your use and how much of the drug has been ingested.

There is freedom from substance abuse and addiction. Located in Northridge in Los Angeles, NATC’s residential facility lets you heal, free your mind, and get a reset on life after you walk out of our doors.

Reach out today to discuss our available evidence-based treatment programs and therapies with our treatment coordinators. Relief from addiction is right around the corner.

Find Meaningful Recovery

Our caring and compassionate specialists are eager to help you comfortably navigate this journey to recovery. Our individualized treatment plan, programs, and therapies may be a perfect match for you or your loved one. Let us assist you in living the happy life you deserve. It starts with a phone call.

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