Synthetic marijuana has been, for the longest time, a dreaded ‘alternative’ of naturally occurring marijuana. Unlike other cannabinoids that are extracted from marijuana or hemp sources, these ones were once synthesized for the sole purpose of research.
However, the widespread distribution of these toxic alternatives across different channels and amongst the citizens of NY has necessitated the use of marijuana products you can access with a New York medical card.
While you can get these toxins from any shady vendors and drug dealers, medical cannabis can only be obtained from a licensed dispensary, making it legal and safe.
But before we get into why you should choose medical cannabis over synthetic, let us learn a little more about synthetic marijuana. Why it is feared, its side effects and why we should move to better, cleaner and naturally occurring alternatives.
What is synthetic marijuana?
As the name states, these cannabinoids have been synthesized in laboratories rather than being sourced out from natural hemp or marijuana sources.
These are often a combination of naturally grown plants that are sprayed with chemicals that imitate the effects of THC, but at a much greater potency. These chemicals lead to extreme psychosis in humans due to how potent they are.
These illicit drugs have a bunch of street names: K2, Spice, Smacked, AK-47, Ninja, Wicked, Skunk, Atomic, XXX Ultra and many more.
Why were these synthesized? For research.
John W. Huffman was the scientist who first started synthesizing cannabinoids to learn about the endocannabinoid system in humans in 1984. He worked to create terahydrocannobidol (THC) like cannabinoids- in other words, components capable of creating a psychoactive effect.
However, the publication of all that he researched and concluded was made available to the public which has led to the present hijacking of basic research.
At present, these synthesized cannabinoids can very easily be found circulating the market, being smuggled around and sold to college graduates. This blind circulation makes the drug even more dangerous than it already was.
The major issue lies here:
- These synthetic cannabinoids are falsely labelled as legal and natural when being sold to ignorant customers, often marketed as incense, potpourri or herbal mixtures
- A majority of these cannabinoids are actually controlled substances (either illegal on a federal level or banned by different states)
- There aren’t any limit to these cannabinoids, these seem to be multiplying every year
- The cannabinoids have unregulated psychoactive effects that can lead to major impairing symptoms and eventual death
- Not a lot is clearly known about their effects, especially in the long run, due to their unregulated character
- These are highly intoxicating and addictive, and can lead to very serious withdrawal syndrome symptoms
- Use of the drugs at an early stage can be a leading cause of mental health issues and psychiatric disorders in adults
- Unlike naturally occurring marijuana which is difficult to overdose on, synthetic marijuana overdoses can lead you to the emergency room or poison
- These cannabinoids can be upto 100 times (or more) more potent than marijuana, leading to psychoactive effects that are beyond our control
- These cannabinoids are created to learn their effects on human receptors. It’s purpose is to fully activate the CB receptors, while THC does it only partially
- Some symptoms of synthetic cannabinoid use are agitation, hallucination, paranoia, tremor, seizure, vomiting, chest pain, cardiac arrests, tachycardia, hypokalemia, kidney damage, psychosis, brain damage and even death
- Bruising and random bleeding are common reasons for emergency calls after the consumption of these cannabinoids.
Alternative to Synthetic Marijuana: Choose Your High Wisely
Synthetic cannabinoids are NOT meant for your consumption and should strictly be restricted to their academic purpose. Rather, you can always opt for a safely sourced marijuana strain that has been extracted for consumption.
A majority of states have legalized the use of cannabis to varying degrees, allowing citizens to consume high quality and safe products. New York, for one, has legalized both medical and recreational (quite recently) use of the herb. This legal availability of the herb should end the consumption of any synthetic cannabinoid.
But out of the two, which one should you opt for?
Medical marijuana is definitely the better option. If you qualify for the medical conditions stated by your state authorities, you can apply for a medical marijuana new york card, that’ll allow you to possess, consume, travel with (inside state borders) and grow your stash without any legal loopholes.
With a medical marijuana card, you get high quality, high potency products that won’t cause an unregulated high as synthesized marijuana does. These strong doses do not lead to similar levels of addiction nor are they responsible for all the side effects associated with synthetic cannabinoids.
Any cannabis product can lead to some level of nausea, insomnia or anxiety if not consumed in regulated doses, or when a high dose is administered at an early stage. However, you aren’t prone to bruising, bleeding, strokes, seizures, or brain damage with marijuana use.
Disclaimer: Some states like Oklahoma, don’t even have a set list of state approved medical conditions that qualify for the use of cannabis. In these situations, you can directly consult your physician to get a medical card.
To apply for a New York medical card, you must qualify for the following medical conditions:
- HIV/ AIDS
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Chronic Pain
- Severe Debilitating or Life Threatening Condition
- Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
- Severe and Chronic Pain
- Severe Nausea
- Persistent Muscle Spasms
- Opioid Use Disorder
Even if your condition doesn’t qualify for medical marijuana recommendations, you can still use cannabis recreationally. While this limits the consumption to less variety of products and lower potency, these are safer options as opposed to unregulated synthetic substitutes.
To ensure the the product you’re buying is of high quality, you should only buy cannabis products (CBD oils, edibles or flower with less than 0.3% THC) from licensed vendors. To verify if a retailer is legit, you can check the product specifications, read through the labels and ingredient list, and closely evaluate the certificate of analysis (COA). The absence of a COA should be the first red flag, and the only one you need.
Synthetic Marijuana is a highly intoxicating drug that leads to more negative effects than positive. With most of these cannabinoids being federally illegal, their consumption should be avoided at all costs.