Synthetic Marijuana: What Is It And Why You Need To Stay Away From This Dangerous Weed Alternative

Last updated: 11 March 2024

synthetic marijuana what is it and why you need to stay away from it

Synthetic marijuana or ‘spice’ synthetic weed was recently trending for the dangers it can pose. This fake blend was produced by those looking to make a quick buck by mimicking the effects of cannabis with cheap chemicals. After 70 serious overdoses occurred, regulators became more aware and active on banning the volatile synthetic buds. So, let's learn about what synthetic marijuana looks like so you can steer clear and why synthetic cannabinoids are so dangerous in the first place. By reviewing everything there is to know about synthetic vs. real weed, you can easily avoid both confusion and harm.

What Is Synthetic Marijuana?

Commonly referred to as K2 or ‘spice’, synthetic marijuana is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. While it may appear to provide a ‘natural’ high like cannabis, it does nothing of the sort. Synthetic marijuana buds are made up of synthetic cannabinoids that are meant to deliver effects similar to cannabinoids. Sometimes though, there’s nothing like the original, and that’s especially the case when it comes to natural cannabis plant healing.

what is synthetic marijuana

How Is Synthetic Marijuana Made?

Synthetic cannabinoids were originally created in the 1980s for research purposes by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Originally, they were intended to help scientists understand how cannabinoids work. Unfortunately, the formula became known to the masses and eventually led to the emergence of cheap and dangerous synthetic marijuana.

To make synthetic marijuana now, manufacturers typically receive synthetic cannabinoids from overseas. The cannabinoids are dissolved in a solvent such as high-proof alcohol or acetone. From there, the liquid is soaked or sprayed onto ‘herb’-like material that often looks like potpourri but is meant to appear like weed. Sometimes, psychoactive plants like Wild Dagga are used. These plants on their own can be tainted with mold, pesticides, or heavy metals. This unregulated and dangerous process delivers an uneven and unsafe product that often has ‘hot spots’ of more potent areas or buds than others, and consuming them can lead to unpredictable effects or accidental overdosing.

how is synthetic marijuana made

What Does Synthetic Marijuana Look Like?

Due to its dangerous side-effects, it’s important to know what synthetic marijuana looks like. At first glance, spice synthetic weed looks like a low-grade version of the real thing, shake, or what you’d find in the bottom of the bag when you’re done with your stash. The material is leafy in nature and often has many stems and sticks. Its products often label themselves as ‘herbal incense’ or ‘potpourri’ and will also note ‘not safe for human consumption’.

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What Are The Health Risks Of Consuming Synthetic Cannabis?

If a printed warning isn’t enough, you should also be aware of the health risks associated with consuming synthetic cannabis. Once you are, it’s almost guaranteed you won’t think about trying it. Because synthetic cannabinoids are up to 100 times more potent than natural THC, the side-effects can be life-threatening. So, why are synthetic cannabinoids dangerous? Here’s a list of side-effects to answer that exact question:

  • Vomiting and retching
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Brain swelling
  • Seizures
  • Paranoia
  • Aggression
  • Hallucinations
  • Chest pains and heart palpitations

Bad batches and overdosing on synthetic marijuana has occurred everywhere, from Ivy League college campuses to all around the globe, even accumulating deaths in its path of destruction. This can likely be attributed to the fact that synthetic cannabinoids are 30 times more likely to harm you than their natural counterparts.

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Avoid Synthetic Marijuana At All Costs

To avoid synthetic marijuana, you need to know how to tell synthetic weed from real weed. This shouldn’t be hard for any cannabis connoisseur. For more amateur consumers, the differences between synthetic weed vs. real weed might not be as obvious, but a few telltale signs will be able to confirm it.

avoid synthetic marijuana at all costs

First off, weed is only grown naturally or sold in licensed dispensaries in places where cannabis use is legal. Of course, that doesn’t negate the existence of black markets, but keep this in mind, as you’ll never see a real bag of weed on the shelf of a convenience store or gas station. In addition, high-quality weed and even lower-quality weed comes in ‘nug’ or ‘bud’ form. Whether small like popcorn buds or big and bulbous, you’ll do the breaking up of marijuana instead of it looking like ‘shake’ in a bag like the synthetic version does.

Lastly, you can use your sense of smell and touch to detect synthetic weed vs. real weed. The synthetic weed smell is similar to the chemicals it's made with – not at all pungently earthy, sweet, or sometimes fruity or skunky like real marijuana smells. Spice synthetic weed is usually overly sticky and glue-like, too. While top-shelf weed can be sticky with resinous trichomes, it will never be tacky like synthetic marijuana can be.


Cannabis: A Natural Alternative To Synthetic Marijuana

With any premium product, there’s bound to be a knock-off version. Unfortunately, with synthetic weed, the downgrade could seriously harm or even kill you. So why take the risk of saving a few bucks, especially when cannabis seeds are readily accessible for purchase and can be grown just as easily? Cannabis is a plant that has provided natural healing for centuries, despite the short period of its criminalization. Unlike synthetic marijuana, natural cannabis has no known health risks unless you count the possibility of getting too high from time to time.

cannabis a natural alternative to synthetic marijuana

That’s right – it’s nearly impossible to overdose on marijuana, and if you do, you might just sleep longer than usual. The natural version has few side-effects other than a case of the munchies, dry eyes, or cotton-mouth. In fact, cannabis is legalized for medical use now more than ever in addition to being recreationally legal in many states and countries. This expansion has increased the quality of cannabis products and strain genetics for fine-tuned effects and benefits for healing.

Synthetic Marijuana: Giving Weed A Bad Name

With the information you’ve gained today, you now know how far spice synthetic weed is from the real thing. So don’t be fooled – settling for man-made synthetic weed can have extremely serious consequences for your health. Cannabis itself is a naturally grown plant that produces safe effects for natural healing. Use our tips on how to tell synthetic weed from real weed and stay as far away from this fake synthetic product as possible.

Herbies Head Shop expressly refuses to support the use, production, or supply of illegal substances. For more details read our Legal Disclaimer.

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