2015-04-22 14:17:10

If you're new to the world of medicinal or legal marijuana, you're learning a lot of new terminology, and if you haven't run across the term K2 synthetic marijuana, you're likely to soon. This drug is being discussed frequently online and on television due to recent increases in its use. So if you have been wondering just what it is and whether or not it is a good substitute for dry herbal marijuana. Read on to find out.

What Is Marijuana?

Before learning about what synthetic marijuana is, you need to understand what is marijuana. Marijuana is a drug derived from the cannabis plant. A potent natural chemical inside of the plant, called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, stimulates receptors on the brain, which can give a pleasurable high feeling, reduce pain, and promote relaxation. Increasingly, scientists are discovering that the THC in marijuana offers other health benefits, and that vaping and smoking marijuana are a beneficial alternative or complementary treatment for many concerns.

What Is Synthetic Marijuana?

Also called K2, spice, and synthetic cannabis, synthetic marijuana is a designer drug created by mixing generic herbs, leaves from plants, incense, and other materials together with an artificial chemical that is meant to act like THC. The drug first appeared in the U.S. in 2008, and was legal until July 2012, when a national ban on K2 was issued. Like real marijuana, synthetic marijuana may be smoked, vaporized, or eaten.

What Does Spice Synthetic Marijuana Do?

On the surface, the synthetic marijuana-like drug spice or K2 seems much like natural marijuana. It affects the same portion of the brain that THC does, and you'll read stories online from people who swear the experience is the same as smoking a joint or vaporizing dry herbs. In actuality, the active chemical in spice or K2 is up to 100 times stronger than the THC in marijuana. This makes synthetic marijuana capable of producing dangerous side effects, including psychosis and severe delusions in some cases. Because the drug is completely man-made, there is also a risk that it could be tainted with toxins and more powerful drugs.

Does Synthetic Marijuana Have the Same Benefits as Medicinal Marijuana?

So far, there is no proof that synthetic marijuana can do any of the beneficial things that medical marijuana can do for individuals suffering from a medical chronic condition or illness. Any potential benefits, including the high that comes from the designer drug, is far outweighed by the dangers of it.

Reality of Synthetic Drugs


  • DrugFacts: Spice (Synthetic Marijuana). National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): drugabuse.gov
  • Understanding the 'Spice' Phenomenon. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
  • Drugs.com. Kids Using Synthetic Pot a Growing Public Health Concern; Available at: drugs.com
  • Cohen, J., Morrison, S., Greenberg, J., & Saidinejad, M. (2012). Clinical Presentation of Intoxication Due to Synthetic Cannabinoids. Pediatrics, 129(4), e1064-e1067
  • Haiken M. "Spice" and "K2" vs "Bath Salts": The Other Designer Drug Scare: forbes.com
  • Johnston, L. D., O'Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (December 18, 2013). "American teens more cautious about using synthetic drugs." University of Michigan News Service: Ann Arbor, MI. Retrieved: monitoringthefuture.org

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