“Mojo” is the name of a relatively new group of drugs sold as synthetic marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids, also referred to as “spice” and “K2.”
These drugs are made of natural herbs or plant matter, which are sprayed with synthetic chemicals that distributors claim resemble the effects of real marijuana when they are consumed or inhaled. The chemicals used are designed to be similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Many people may be fooled into thinking that synthetic marijuana is not as harmful or dangerous as the real thing. In fact, the Mojo drug and other synthetic marijuana products are often sold as a legal alternative to marijuana and are packaged in vividly colored wrappers, similar to children’s candy. In actuality, this synthetic drug produces effects that are much stronger than marijuana, often more unpredictable and in some cases life-threatening.
The Legality of The Mojo Drug and Synthetic Cannabinoids
While the Drug Enforcement Administration has attempted to regulate the manufacture and distribution of synthetic cannabinoids, its biggest hurdle has been staying ahead of the various compounds that are used to create the drug. Ingredients with names such as JWH-018, JWH-073, and HU-210 have been generated nearly as quickly as law enforcement can outlaw them. Moreover, by slightly modifying the chemical structure, synthetic cannabinoid distributors have been able to circumvent drug laws and continue selling this dangerous drug.
Synthetic marijuana is sometimes sold in gas stations, head shops and on the Internet. Despite evidence suggesting otherwise, it is often touted as a safe and legal alternative to organic, natural marijuana. These drugs may also be labeled “not for human consumption” and marketed as incense or potpourri.
This loophole in marketing allows the substance to be sold legally. Because the chemicals used in these drugs have no medical benefit and a high potential for abuse, the DEA has made it illegal to sell, buy, or possess some of these chemicals. However, manufacturers are continually attempting to evade these laws by modifying the chemical formulas in their compounds.
The packaging, name, and ingredients of synthetic cannabinoids are inconsistent and vary widely between sellers. For this reason, the drug is a moving target for both health officials and law enforcement hoping to crack down on its adverse effects.
Synthetic Marijuana Abuse Side Effects
Because synthetic cannabinoids are not formally intended to be smoked or consumed, using them in this way is considered to be abuse. Many adolescents are drawn to synthetic marijuana because they erroneously believe it is safer than marijuana, or more importantly, that they won’t get in trouble for using it because it can be bought legally. What’s more is that synthetic marijuana isn’t identifiable on most drug tests, making the drug an ideal choice for those concerned about getting caught using.
In truth, the effects of synthetic cannabinoids are in many ways comparable to those of marijuana and can be magnified when mixed with other substances. These include altered perception of reality and feeling relaxed and euphoric. The actual ingredients in synthetic marijuana vary from batch to batch, however, and the chemicals used to generate the substance’s effects were originally developed to be used as in such products as fertilizers and cancer treatments.
It is important to note that many of these chemicals have not been approved for human consumption, and there is no way to know what adverse reactions a user may encounter. Mild side effects of synthetic marijuana resemble those of real marijuana. However, there have been several accounts of severe side effects from the use of synthetic marijuana, including death.
Side effects of synthetic marijuana may include:
- High blood pressure
- Accelerated heart rate
- Profuse sweating
- Cardiac arrest
- Kidney damage
Signs of Mojo Drug Addiction
Repeated use of synthetic marijuana can result in the development of both psychological and physiological dependence. There are 11 signs of addiction defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Someone experiencing a synthetic marijuana addiction may want to quit using it but continue anyway, or use it in inappropriate or even dangerous circumstances.
As with any psychoactive drug, it is possible to abuse and even become addicted to synthetic cannabinoids. Habitual users may encounter withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop, and these effects prompt many to relapse. Some of the withdrawal symptoms from discontinuing synthetic marijuana after sustained abuse include nausea, diarrhea, anxiety, and cravings.
Treatment for Synthetic Marijuana Addiction
Overcoming an addiction to synthetic marijuana can be achieved through the use of evidence-based behavioral therapies, medication-assisted treatment, counseling, and other proven treatments. Recovery By The Sea offers a comprehensive approach to addiction treatment that includes these services essential to recovery, and much, much more.
If you or someone you care about is abusing synthetic marijuana, we urge you to seek our help as soon as possible. It only takes one call to begin your new life in recovery!