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Synthetic Marijuana - A Rose By Any Other Name Would Be Just As Deadly

Updated on November 1, 2011

By now you've heard of synthetic marijuana. K2 and Spice are the names most often associated with it, but vendors hawk their wares under a plethora of other names. Happy Hour, Mr. Smiley, Zombie Butter, Black Widow, Dead & Berried, Cherry High, and Mayhem are just a few of the other names emblazoned on the small plastic containers and baggies used to package it, all with the statement "not for human consumption" on it somewhere to circumvent the illegality of the product. Even if you know what name it goes by, do you know what goes into it?

Synthetic marijuana is a mixture of generally harmless herbs, the garden variety, coated with a wide variety of different chemicals to produce certain mental and physiological effects that mimic the effects of marijuana and other illegal substances (cocaine and LSD, for example). The maufacturers of fake weed are not required to put the ingredients on the packaging because the substances are not regulated or approved by any federal agency...and even if they were inclined to list the ingredients, they get around that by claiming it's a "proprietary blend" and leave it at that.

What's it really made of? Your guess would be as good as mine. Labels such as JWH-018 and HU-210 are used, but what are those, really? One study showed that some of the alleged ingredients in synthetic marijuana, including the herbs used as the base, weren't even contained in the actual product. The man who discovered JWH-018 (the most-often used primary chemical in synthetic marijuana), a professor at Clemson University, has stated that the effects of the chemical on humans have not been studied or tested, nor has the potential for toxicity, and therefore the substance should not be consumed.

Several sellers of the variously-named "herbal incense" products dutifully remove the banned products as needed, but aren't worried about losing business. When asked about the possible effects of the DEA bans on synthetic marijuana and the chemicals used to make it, they almost always respond by saying the same thing, "It's okay...the makers will just change around a few chemicals and it'll be back on the shelves by the end of the week."

Basically, consuming synthetic marijuana is like playing Russian might as well dig around in the chemical cabinet of your home blindfolded, mix a few here and there in various amounts, and chug it down. You'll get the same "high" feeling and a "head change," and if you're lucky, you won't end up hospitalized or dead. If you're lucky, you won't have long-term effects beseiging your body as a result of ingesting an unknown collection of unstudied chemicals.

Speaking of dead...yes, people have died from ingesting synthetic marijuana. (No one has ever died from ingesting real marijuana, that in itself lets you know the two substances are drastically different in the way they effect the human body.)

October 2011: A 13-year old boy in Pennsylvania had to have a double lung transplant as a result of extensive damage to his lungs after ingesting synthetic marijuana, and he recently died as a result of infection (which would not have happened had he not needed the transplant due to the effects of synthetic marijuana).

October 2011: An Anderson University (SC) basketball player died after ingesting synthetic marijuana.

September 2011: A 22-year old Minnesota man committed suicide while "high" on synthetic marijuana; family and friends said he had no suicidal tendencies at all and his death was a result of anxiety and mood shifts caused by ingestion of the substance.

August 2011: A 19-year old Illinois man was "high" on synthetic marijuana and got into a fatal vehicle accident (he died).

Spring 2011: A Minnesota resident died from ingesting synthetic marijuana.

There are thousands of 911 calls and trips to the emergency room that have been recorded across the country in the past year as a result of complications from ingesting this toxic blend of chemicals. Your favorite search engine will give you plenty of results to read. And aside from the health dangers associated with ingestion, synthetic marijuana is also highly addictive...almost more so than more potent drugs.

If you know someone who uses synthetic marijuana, urge them to quit.


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    • poet83 profile image

      Brian Lawson 5 years ago from Windsor, Va.

      Excellent hub! I will be sharing this with a friend that smokes Spice on a daily basis. It's not good stuff! Voted up!

    • profile image

      chabbles 5 years ago

      Where are the references for this? Im not saying its all untrue but would be worth checking references for some of these claims.

      John - So true !

      Me (not me but the me up there) - Excellent input

      imarijuana - I like your site :)

    • kuttingxedge profile image

      S.P. Kelly 5 years ago from Just outside of international extradition agreements

      Charliebeezy, I'm going to strait out call you a bold-faced liar. I think you made up every word you typed. And I could not agree more with 'me' ;). Everything in moderation people. Evrything has the potential to be abused. What happened to personal accountability?

      What people don't seem to understand is that by letting the government decide what grown men and women, free citizens, can and cannot do provides them with the precedent to take more and more liberties with OUR liberties.

      For example, after 9/11 everyone was all for letting the government amend search and seizure laws at airports. That sounds all well and good, except it wouldn't apply just in airports. It would let cops pull people over for being black, or being young, playing rock and roll, or having piercings in their face. Whatever.

      We will decide for ourselves what is good for us. I for one am sick of the government, who can't even balance their own freaking checkbook, telling me what is best for me. Lead by example, Uncle Sam. Get your own house in order before you try to manage mine!

    • imarijuana profile image

      imarijuana 5 years ago

      yeah that stuff is so bad for you thats why you should just check out my page and smoke that stuff :)

    • profile image

      me 5 years ago

      What are underaged kids and dumbasses doing?! You cannot smoke that much of it... did you really think it was to be smoked like regular pot? No wonder people freak out and get crazy on it causing high anxiety which will cause the symptoms I have read people say they or friends experienced..

      The first time you tried marajuana or alcohol or anything new did you go all out without thinking to see what your body does? I am so tired of reading posts by people who are careless and so stupid to think they'd be smoking it like real weed... come on people ... you didn't really go out and smoke a Completely different substance and not even think that there would be a difference??? It amazes me how many stupid people are out in the world. You all who complained about the aide effects... i read one girl smoked it in a blunt and then a bong in a row and she freaked person smoked it like a cigarette in the car and panicked while driving... all i cann

      say is wow..... you obviously fried way too many brain cells smoking and doing other drugs or something to handle trying something new and probably should never try any other drugs because you will probably overdose or go insane... stupid stupid people in the world... it's safe and i have smoked several different kinds. None have ever made me sick or freak out or land me into an anxiety attack And i have actual anxiety and panic attacks. I am so aggrivated people are idiots and complain when they get too messed up because they didn't use precaution and went over board... its like someone complaining they ended up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning ..

      It's your own damn faults for not thinking first. Do drunks go online to complain they had a night where they did or said something strange and got so messed up the couldn't drive or function? No! They'd be laughed at and told to stop drinking or know their limits.... anyone worried about alcohol poisoning or drunk driving? Wow so many stupid people out there it's scary. Think people! Use what's left of the brain you probably already fried by not thinking about what you are doing! It is common sense idiots... common sense may save you from some of these people's ridiculous stories and experiences where they did the damage to themselves..

      So annoyed by stupidity and dumbasses.

    • profile image

      Suzie q 5 years ago

      I don't understand how people can be so retarded to ingest that

      For cripe sake it says incense not for human consumption. I figure if you're stupid enough to smoke that shit you get what You deserve. Another thing don't go on the soapbox what about minors. Be a fucking parent and do your job to raise them better.

    • profile image

      Charliebeezy 5 years ago

      I took one hit of the mr. Nice guy jefferey brand spice and I started running backwards uncontrollably , and screaming the same thing over and over" call Tom" "call Brian" but I had no control, tgen everything went blank and I woke up in the hospital 3 and a half months later. I now have permanent brain damage and have an avg of about 130 seziures per day, I'm dying quickly. For all I know that shit could of been crack, meth, and heroin mixed together with battery acid and sprayed on plants that have been sprayed with pesticides during there growth period.

    • profile image

      John 6 years ago

      And how many people died from eating peanuts in that period?

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 6 years ago from Oakland, CA

      Great information. We get a lot of people trying to spam HubPages with links to these synthetic marijuana vendors (which we do not allow). I'm sure most people do not give a second thought to the risks involved.

    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 6 years ago

      Wow... another reason I am glad I don't smoke.