Synthetic Marijuana Abuse Effects, Signs & Symptoms

What is Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

Understanding Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

Commonly referred to by a variety of terms including spice, potpourri, or K2, synthetic marijuana is a substance that’s been engineered to produce an intense high that can cause feelings of detachment and euphoria.

However, because this drug is produced and sold under questionably legal circumstances, a person can never be certain of what he or she is ingesting, and places him or herself at risk for a variety of adverse outcomes as a result. For example, there are individuals who have consumed synthetic marijuana hoping that it would offer a similar high as the naturally growing variety, and experienced terrifying episodes of psychosis instead.

Additionally, there are numerous people who have experienced significant health problems after abusing this drug.

If you have been grappling with the abuse of synthetic marijuana, it’s possible for you to evade the permanent effects of this kind of substance abuse. When you seek professional treatment to combat a synthetic marijuana abuse problem, you’ll have the support, resources, and services required to end this sort of addiction in a life-saving and life-changing way.


Statistics of Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

With an increase in the number of people who abuse synthetic marijuana, the number of individuals who require care for this sort of problem is rising as well. Ever since synthetic marijuana emerged on the drug scene, poison control centers have been reporting cases of people who have been poisoned by abusing this drug. In fact, in the last few years, more than 5,000 individuals needed treatment after abusing this drug. Additionally, well over 12,000 individuals required emergency treatment after taking synthetic marijuana, which certainly speaks to the dangers associated with this form of substance abuse.


What are the Causes of Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

Understanding the complex nature of synthetic marijuana abuse can be difficult if one doesn’t take into account the various contributing factors for why and how this kind of issue develops. The following summarizes what researchers have discovered in terms of the causes and risk factors for synthetic marijuana abuse:

Genetic: For many individuals, substance abuse and addiction impact members of their families. When this is the case, genetics may be at work, as certain genes carry the potential to increase the risk for a person struggling with similar issues at some point in life.

Environmental: Even if you don’t have a genetic predisposition to addiction, it’s possible that your environment can influence whether or not you will struggle with the abuse of synthetic marijuana. For instance, if you have peers who abuse this substance, are able to easily get synthetic marijuana, or if you are surrounding yourself with those who are accepting of substance abuse, your risk for abusing synthetic marijuana can increase. In addition, if you don’t have effective coping mechanisms, high self-esteem, or if you lack adequate support, your potential for abusing this substance also goes up.

Risk Factors:

  • Living in poverty
  • Lack of parental involvement during childhood
  • Family history of substance abuse and addiction
  • Being of younger age
  • Prior substance abuse, especially at an early age
  • Having a traumatic past
  • Being male
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Poor stress-management skills

Signs and Symptoms

Learn More About the Signs and Symptoms of Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

If you’re wondering if you have developed an addiction to synthetic marijuana, you can read through the following behavioral, physical, cognitive, and psychosocial symptoms to see if any of them are affecting your life:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Frequent unexplained absences from work
  • Declining performance at work
  • Possessing drug paraphernalia
  • Failed attempts at stopping the abuse of synthetic marijuana
  • Spending a lot of time trying to get, use, and recover from the abuse of this drug
  • Continuing to abuse this substance despite negative outcomes related to the abuse of this drug
  • Overt aggressiveness
  • Violent behavior
  • Uncharacteristic emotional outbursts
  • Deception regarding one’s actions and whereabouts
  • Lack of attention to grooming and personal hygiene

Physical symptoms:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Increased heart rate
  • Higher than normal blood pressure
  • Numbness in extremities
  • Watery eyes
  • Nausea

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Disorientation
  • Depersonalization

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Loss of interest in significant activities


Understanding the Effects of Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

The problems that can happen when you continue to abuse synthetic marijuana can significantly alter the course of your life. If the consequences of this sort of substance abuse haven’t impacted your life yet, they may start soon, and hinder your ability to function each day and take care of yourself. However, when you begin treatment, the following can be avoided completely:

  • Job loss
  • Brain damage
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Attempts at suicide
  • Family discord
  • Dysfunctional interpersonal relationships
  • Diminished performance at work
  • Stroke
  • Legal problems
  • Financial problems
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Chronic unemployment
  • Arrest
  • Incarceration

Withdrawal and Overdose

Learn More About the Effects of Synthetic Marijuana Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of synthetic marijuana withdrawal: Ongoing abuse of synthetic marijuana can cause your body to become both tolerant of and dependent on it. To know if this has happened to you, note whether or not the following effects occur when you’re no longer abusing this drug, and, if they do happen to you, seek treatment as soon as possible:

  • Cold flashes
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Strong cravings for synthetic marijuana
  • Hot flashes
  • Fatigue

Effects of synthetic marijuana overdose: An unfortunate effect of synthetic marijuana abuse is the ever-present possibility of overdose. An overdose happens when your body becomes overrun by synthetic marijuana. This kind of effect can be life-threatening, which is why medical care is needed if you begin experiencing any of the following after abusing this drug:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Respiratory distress
  • Coma
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Seizure
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion

Co-Occurring Disorders

Synthetic Marijuana Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders

Sometimes the abuse of synthetic marijuana can trigger otherwise dormant mental health issues to manifest. Additionally, this substance is capable of making mental health concerns worse the longer it is abused. So, if you begin rehab services to end your abuse of synthetic marijuana, know that you might be treated for one or more of the following disorders as well:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Other substance use disorders
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • Depressive disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

My daughter was smoking weed and it was hurting her in school. North Tampa helped her stop smoking and her grades have since risen dramatically.

– Janet T.
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