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Why Synthetic Weed Is More Toxic to the Brain Than Marijuana

by Ossiana M. Tepfenhart 5 years ago in science
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Ever wonder why synthetic weed is more toxic to the brain than marijuana is? It's all in the chemistry...

Synthetic weed, also known as spice, has become one of the most dangerous legal drugs on the market. Usage of synthetic weed has been linked to permanent brain damage, seizures, psychosis, and even death. Clearly, synthetic weed is more toxic to the brain than regular cannabis is.

Most people know that synthetic weed is created by spraying chemicals that mimic cannabinoids on leaves, but they don't know why the damage it deals is so extensive.

Did you ever wonder why synthetic weed is more toxic to the brain than marijuana? Speaking as someone who's studied chemistry in the past, there's a couple of major reasons why one of the very inventors of faux cannabinoids called synthetic marijuana is its own form of Russian roulette...

It's several times more efficient at binding to the brain than natural cannabinoids.

Efficiency isn't always a good thing — especially when it comes to how drugs react with people. Heroin is a more efficient form of opium, and that's why it's so much deadlier. The same can be said, sort of, for synthetic weed.

Toxicologists have a saying: "The dose makes the toxin." One of the reasons why synthetic weed is much more toxic to the brain than marijuana is because it's built to be way more concentrated and also fully target your brain's marijuana receptors.

This, in turn, gives a far stronger high, but also ends up causing the high to be neurotoxic. To make matters worse, the high efficiency of synth weed's binding characteristics mean that your receptors will get bound to the chemicals in synth weed for longer amounts of time.

This explains why smoking fake weed doesn't feel like smoking regular marijuana; the high is an order of magnitude stronger and also has side effects that are several orders of magnitude stronger.

For all intents and purposes, synthetic weed doesn't act like weed on a physical level — even if it acts similarly in the brain. Comparing regular weed to synth weed is a lot like comparing cocaine to crack.

To make things worse, cannabinoid receptors are everywhere in your brain.

Another one of the top factors which explains why synthetic weed is more toxic to the brain than marijuana involves your own brain structure. Your brain has cannabinoid receptors in every section of your brain — your cerebral cortex, your medulla oblongata, your occipital lobe — everywhere.

This means that your brain's getting "attacked" by the neurotoxic stuff in fake weed everywhere, at the same time!

If your brain had CB receptors in only one part, synthetic weed wouldn't be that dangerous, per se. But, the problem is that this stuff attacks receptors throughout your brain. When you have a strong-binding, long-lasting, and extremely potent substance hitting receptors throughout your brain, you're gonna have a bad time.

This is why so many people have seizures when they're on synthetic weed, why you get more psychosis on fake weed, as well as why there's such a common issue with memory loss with people who smoke it. Fake weed literally attacks every part of your brain.

Our bodies also don't know how to deactivate fake weed.

Here's a frightening thought — synthetic weed overdoses strongly resemble amphetamine or PCP overdoses, much more than they resemble a regular weed "overdose." When you smoke way too much weed, your bodies can naturally "shake it off." When you smoke too much spice or K2, you can't always shake it off.

We can metabolize natural cannabinoids easily, and after a while, the metabolites just get flushed out of our systems. This doesn't happen with fake weed. Rather, when we metabolize fake weed, the compounds it gets broken down into may end up permanently fusing to the cannabinoid receptors in our brains.

If you've ever heard of someone who's smoked spice and "never was the same again," this is why. They overdosed and are now permafried. This alone should reason enough why synthetic weed is more toxic to the brain than marijuana.

Lastly, there's no quality control and a baseline of what synthetic weed is made of.

We all know what the benefits of medical marijuana are. Mary Jane is a very heavily researched herb, and it's one that's been around for most of human history. There's not much need for quality control in this respect. As long as it's pure and not sprayed with stuff, marijuana will not hurt you.

One of the most obvious reasons why synthetic weed is more toxic to the brain than marijuana deals with the fact that it's a known unknown — and that the known knowns are not that good, either.

We already know that the compounds that make synthetic marijuana are neurotoxic. We also know that what goes into synthetic cannabis changes heavily as laws ban certain substances.

We don't know how bad these compounds are, and more alarmingly, there's no quality control that manufacturers enforce when it comes to making this stuff. This means they can "overspray" with an extremely easy-to-overdose-on substance, and there would be no way to trace that it's a bad batch until too many people smoke it and die.

Make no mistake about it; synthetic marijuana should be illegal. It's far more toxic to your brain and body than manufacturers want you to know, and science backs that statement.

The sad thing is that the only reason fake weed even exists is due to the need for a legal loophole. This could all go away if we legalized marijuana already. However, until we do, the overdoses will continue to happen.


About the author

Ossiana M. Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of NJ. You can message her via Twitter on @bluntandwitty or via Instagram on @ossiana.makes.content. She's always looking for freelance work and collabs!

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