What are synthetic drugs?

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Synthetic drugs are chemically laced substances meant to mimic the effects of other drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine. The difference between synthetic drugs and drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and meth are that synthetic drugs are sold over the counter at some convenience stores, gas station, and tobacco shops.

Based on the chemical make-up the synthetic drug, they can be divided into two categories which are known as cannabinoids and cathinones. Cannabinoids are most popularly known as K2 or spice. The cannabinoids are chemically made versions of synthetic marijuana that consist of lab-manufactured THC. Cathinones are most often known as “bath salts”. Cathinones have a chemical structure that mimics the effects cocaine and/or meth.

The two most common synthetic drugs are Bath Salts and Spice.

Bath salts and spice are two of the most common synthetic drugs. Bath salts are designer drug that has recently become available and can cause severe side effects. Bath salts are sold as crystalline powder in a small bag with names such as Ivory Wave, Blow, Red Dove, Vanilla Sky etc. Some of the signs and symptoms of bath salt use are severe paranoia, violent behavior, hallucinations, chest pain, seizures, decreased need for sleep, lack of appetite, self-mutilation.

Spice is sold as an “herbal smoking mixture” and is marked not for human consumption. Spice contains untested chemicals that also have an unknown toxicity and addiction potential. More is known about spice than bath salts. Spice can cause side effects such as; anxiety, nausea, discomfort, confusion, paranoia. Spice can also affect short-term memory, motivation, reasoning ability, emotional stability, learning, and stamina. Spice users should be careful because each batch of it could be different.

How are synthetic drugs sold?

The packaging of synthetic drugs states that the products are not meant for human consumption but the design of the packaging and the labeling clearly allude to the products being smoked, snorted or inhaled as a drug.

Are synthetic drugs dangerous?

Synthetic drugs may be more dangerous than their natural partners: meth, cocaine, and marijuana. One reason synthetic drugs are so dangerous is because that buyers don’t know what chemicals they are ingesting since they were made in a lab. Individual synthetic drugs can contain a variation of different chemical formulations and potencies. Some synthetic drugs can end up being two to five hundred time stronger than THC.

Why aren’t synthetic drugs illegal?

Synthetic drugs are not illegal because the chemical formulas to make them can change so easily. Those who make synthetic drugs can easily maneuver around any new laws or regulations put on them. The manufacturers of synthetic drugs simply replace one chemical compound with a newer formula that is not yet known to the authorities. This also increases the risks for those that use synthetic drugs because they are unaware of the side effects of the new chemical formulas.