Synthetic Marijuana – A Continuing Threat

Often I write about interesting designer drugs that can be used as murder weapons (like “Molly” in a previous blog). Today, I’d like to discuss another popular designer drug that’s periodically in the news.

Synthetic marijuana first appeared in the United States around 2009. It’s aimages-1 psychoactive designer drug created by spraying natural herbs with legal chemicals that imitate the effects of cannabis.

The chemicals used in the spray are called cannabinoids because they mimic the effects of real cannabis. They’re used to avoid the laws that make cannabis illegal and, although these chemicals do create a psychotropic effect, they don’t produce positive drug test results.

The detrimental effects of using synthetic marijuana, however, include severe agitation and delirium, confusion and extreme sleepiness, kidney damage and seizures.

The drug is increasingly popular among the teen crowd, with the biggest imagesusers in the 12-17 year-old age category. That’s because the product often is sold in stores as a household item and is sometimes labeled as herbal incense. In other retail establishments, like head shops and convenience stores, the product is marketed as “K2” or “Spice”.

Between 2011 and 2015, more than 20 deaths have been attributed to K2 overdoses, and in the last week K2 caused 52 patients to be treated by Austin-Travis County EMS personnel in Austin, Texas for severe reactions.

The hidden dangers of synthetic psychoactive drugs, like synthetic cannabis,MH900427604 are that the legal chemicals used to mimic the psychotropic effects of the real drug often create a psychosis; that is, they facilitate the onset or worsening of existing psychiatric disorders and therefore can produce enhanced hallucinations, delusions, violence and impaired insight. So anyone with a predisposition to a psychotic episode could be pushed over the edge by using these legal alternatives.

When a product is designed to mimic the effects of an illegal drug but is made with legal ingredients, the DEA must create a specific law to make that product illegal. Until that happens, the drug is considered “unofficial but legal” in many jurisdictions. But, as soon as the DEA outlaws a specific drug, a new variation is often designed and marketed as the next big thrill.

Statistics show that there’s a growing parallel market, called the grey market, for these alternatives to illegal drugs, and as soon as their use is made illegal new ones become available. The DEA has identified over 200 such new substances in the last five years alone.

It would seem possible to stem their growth by heightened laws and enforcement, but MH900439326I continue to wonder if a more prudent approach would be public education starting at an early age regarding the dangers of using these “pop up drugs” ~

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

About James J. Murray, Fiction Writer

With experience in both pharmaceutical manufacturing and clinical patient management, medications and their impact on one’s quality of life have been my expertise. My secret passion of murder and mayhem, however, is a whole other matter. I’ve always loved reading murder mysteries and thrillers, and longed to weave such tales of my own. Drawing on my clinical expertise as a pharmacist and my infatuation with the lethal effects of drugs, my tales of murder, mayhem and medicine will have you looking over your shoulder and suspicious of anything in your medicine cabinet.
This entry was posted in A How To Blog on Murder Weapons, A New Drug Abuse Threat, A New Street Drug, A Twisted Holiday Short Story, About Author Thomas Rydder, About James J. Murray, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Chemicals Used For Murder, Deadly Drugs in America, Designer Drug Deaths, Designer Poisons Used For Murder, Designing Murder Plots, Dramatic Murder Weapons, Drug Abuse, Drug Misadventures, Drugs For Murder Plots, Drugs Used For Murder, Euphoric Party Drugs, Forged Prescription Short Story, How To Write A BloodLess Murder Scene, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Interesting Murder Weapons, James J. Murray Blog, K2 Use, Killing Off Characters in Your Novel, Marijuana and Colorado, Marijuana Deaths, Murder With Party Drugs, New Blog, Plotting Murder Scenes, Poisons Used For Murder, Psychoactive Designer Drugs, Spice and Recreational Drugs, Street Drug Abuse Substances, Street Drug Overdosing, Street Drugs, Street Drugs and Murder, Synthetic Cannabis, Synthetic Marijuana, Synthetic Marijuana and Colorado, Synthetic Marijuana and Teenagers, Synthetic Marijuana and Teens, The Science of Murder, Tools of Murder, Unique Murder Weapons, Ways To Kill, Ways to Murder and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Synthetic Marijuana – A Continuing Threat

  1. Hi James, the supply of New Psychoactive Substances has been made illegal in the UK. Possession isn’t. This has had some effect on the market, especially in prisons. We are yet to see how it pans out in the UK. I developed a Training session for professionals and users and think there needs to be more awareness of this dangerous chemical marketed as a cannabis substitute.

  2. We have been conducting a ‘war on drugs’ for generations, and yet the scourge of illicit drugs keeps getting worse. Why is it that we keep doing the same thing while expecting different results? That behavior would seem not very intelligent. Perhaps the answer is to stop trying to impose a criminal response when the problem is one of health and education, wherein quite possibly the answers are to be found.

  3. I could not have said it better myself, Jim. Thanks as always for your comments and insight.

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