Being able to spot a synthetic marijuana high in your friends, family or children
What is Synthetic Marijuana
Synthetic marijuana is simply a man-made, chemically engineered drug. It is made up of miscellaneous dried leaf matter that has been sprayed down with toxic chemicals that, when smoked, allegedly mimic the mental effects of naturally-derived marijuana.
Starting out, synthetic cannabis was available for consumers at many corner stores, smoke shops and gas stations. As the dangers of the drug became more apparent, local and state governments took a more active role in protecting adults and youth from the imminent threat of synthetic drugs altogether.
Unfortunately, in illegalizing the ingredients necessary to make synthetic drugs, manufacturers simply switched chemical components—making the substances even more dangerous and highly unpredictable. Law and drug enforcement still continue this battle with banning synthetic marijuana and putting it out of consumer reach.
Synthetic marijuana is still sold online and is usually packaged in colorful ways similar to a plastic gum container or candy. It looks more like dried oregano than marijuana, and when smoked, it gives off a distinct, foul smell described as being akin to the scent of burnt hair.
Synthetic Cannabis: How to Tell if Someone is High
Many synthetic marijuana abusers report the high as being intense and unstable. Unlike the commonly reported feeling of being “stoned” on marijuana, synthetic cannabis users generally experience a wide range of hallucinations and psychedelic phenomena leading to violent episodes and psychotic breaks.
As of now, synthetic cannabis is not detectable by average drug tests. To tell if someone is high on synthetic marijuana, watch for any of the following:
1. Signs of hallucination.
The toxic ingredients in synthetic marijuana can rapidly induce extreme hallucinations—feelings of superhuman strength, instense desires or false perceptions, similar to those one might experience while tripping on acid.
2. Episodes of violent behavior.
Some synthetic marijuana users have experienced extreme violent urges. This is sometimes manifested towards others but can be directed at one’s own self. These violent episodes are a result of extreme hallucination and are as unpredictable as the high itself.
3. Mental instability.
During and after a synthetic marijuana high, users generally experience extreme mental instability—severe highs and lows, depression, anxiety, fearfulness, agitation, irritability, anger, grief and a feeling of worldly detachment.
Other signs that someone might be using synthetic cannabis include physical changes, sleeplessness, attitude shifts and mood swings. Many have reported severe headaches, blackouts, trouble breathing and myocardial infarction (heart attacks) as a result of the drug.
Watch For Aliases and Slang Term
Synthetic cannabis is marketed under a lengthy list of different names and product types. Sometimes it is labeled as “herbal smoking blends” while other packages might called it “herbal incense.”
Aliases for synthetic marijuana (or “fake weed”) include:
- Black Mamba
- Bombay Blue
- Moon Rocks
Because this synthetic substance rarely shows up on traditional drug screens, it is vitally important that parents take the time to understand the risks and signs of use associated with the drug.
Legislation has successfully banned synthetic cannabis in many parts of the US and across Europe, but it is still widely available and in use especially amongst youth. Spread the word and help others to understand the potentially deadly effects and signs of a synthetic drug high.
If you know someone who is addicted to synthetic marijuana, don’t wait. Get them help through our residential program by learning more about Narconon Arrowhead today.
 Narconon: How Synthetic Marijuana is Causing Permanent Disability;