What is synthetic marijuana? How does it differ from natural marijuana? What effects does it have on the body? Are there any ill side effects? These are the common questions that arise around the topic of synthetic marijuana.Synthetic marijuana has been labeled as such because it is a laboratory-produced product designed to reproduce the effects of marijuana on the body.
It is not, however, marijuana. And it is not, as some may assume, safer. Herbs are sprayed with a solution containing synthetic cannabinoids similar to those naturally occurring in marijuana. The substance, often sold as incense and known as ‘spice,’ was designed to give a high similar to that attained from smoking pot, to evade drug laws, and ideally, to fool a urinalysis. New technology, however, allows synthetic marijuana to be detected in urine.
Use of synthetic marijuana may cause elevated heart rate, nausea, paranoia and even psychotic episodes. This designer drug can be three to five times stronger than natural marijuana and—in several cases—death has resulted from use.
Kicking the Habit
The effects and negative repercussions of using synthetic marijuana have shown to be far more severe than natural marijuana. Though the substance may be deemed ‘legal’ in many areas, this is not synonymous with ‘harmless.’ Synthetic marijuana is also more addictive than its natural counterpart and brings with it a host of negative withdrawal symptoms including prolonged periods of vomiting, mood swings, memory loss and paranoia.
A plan for synthetic marijuana detox may require the assistance and monitoring of a professional. Users may also need psychiatric help in dealing with the common psychological effects of the drug such as psychosis, anxiety and depression.
The first step, after kicking an addiction like synthetic marijuana, is learning to live normally without the substance or behavior. It is not enough to simply remove a dangerous, unhealthy, or dysfunctional drug or pattern. This only creates a void, which then leads to the craving to fill the void, usually with the former drug of choice or something like it. The recovering addict must be intentional in restructuring his life so as to eliminate some of the risk factors, environments and even people that contributed to the drug problem in the first place. Addicts are also served well by the emotional self-discovery encouraged by Twelve-Step Programs. When addicts are able to understand why they used, they can seek the kind of healing and help that will prevent them from making the same mistakes and returning to old methods of self-medication.
Many addicts will be haunted professionally by their past drug use and may wonder how to get a job after being fired for synthetic marijuana.
The process of seeking employment after losing a job on the basis of drug use may be a long one. However, the situation is not hopeless. In all cases, honesty and forthrightness is key. A better approach is to explain the situation to potential employers and allow them to ask any questions. Assure them that you have put the addiction behind you and that you are in a program of ongoing support and recovery. Explain that you are willing to submit to a random drug test at any point. Many, seeing your willingness to be honest and your courage to leave behind the old life, will be eager to give you a chance.