Synthetic Cannabinoids

Synthetic Cannabinoids: What You Need to Know?

Many people have been using synthetic cannabinoids since their introduction in 2002. Even though synthetic cannabinoids are made in laboratory conditions, many manufacturers dubiously claim that these are made from plant material. 

Today, hundreds of synthetic cannabinoids have exposed the general public to a host of unpredictable effects. Many of these weed products are hitting marketplaces like smoking blends, herbal buds, herbal smoke, and other similar names. This makes it very difficult for CBD consumers to identify them accurately. Some popular synthetic cannabinoid brands include Spice, Herbal Smoke, Ultra Chronic, Magma, K2, Genie, Hawaiian, Demon Passion Smoke, and Voodoo Spice. 

How to Recognize Fake Weed?

Synthetic Marijuana is commonly made from the dried leaves of herb plants. They come in a variety of sizes, from red to blonde, and packaged in tiny packets. These packets are colorful and have adjustable zip bags. Some online weed companies also label synthetic weed with disclaimers like “unfit for human consumption.”

What Do Synthetic Cannabinoids Do?

Fake weed has very similar physiological action to THC delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the main psychoactive substance found in the cannabis plant. One of its most recognizable properties is that it induces a “high.” 

Users of Synthetic marijuana state that herbal buds give a high very similar to that weed. However, the duration of this high isn’t long. For some users, the high is very nerve-calming. It doesn’t cause a head heaviness associated with smoking weed. Another notable thing is the “rough” taste, which users say “makes your lungs hurt and throat itchy.”

As there are no standardized guidelines or regulatory controls for selling, distributing, and labeling synthetic weed, you can never ascertain your product’s quality or composition. 

State of The Synthetic Cannabis Market

Although many companies claim their products to be 100% natural, none of them are, in fact, 100% natural. Tests have shown that they all contain synthetic cannabinoids and other laboratory-prepared chemicals to some extent.

Before, fake weed products weren’t allowed for sale and distribution in the US. This was because they contained a THC-mimicking substance called HU-120. HU-120 is a schedule 1 substance, and therefore, prohibited for use in products. 

In recent years, many new synthetic cannabinoids have surfaced to replace HU-120. They are way too many to number down. Some are like THC, while others — not so much. Also, some are legal, and others aren’t. This new line of synthetic cannabinoids has allowed companies to sell their products in the US legally. When the FDA does ban these compounds, fake weed companies just come up with another synthetic cannabinoid that is still legal. 

In 2015, The DEA categorized 15 varieties of fake weed as Scheduled I controlled substances, placing them in the same ranks as heroin, crack, and cocaine. 

Off-Label Uses

Some synthetic cannabinoids sold in the market claim to be sourced from traditional herbs. These herbs include:

  • Beach bean (Canavalia Maritima)
  • Blue Egyptian water lily (nymphaea caerulea)
  • Dwarf skullcap (Scutellaria nana)
  • Indian warrior (pedicularis densiflora)5 
  • Lion’s tail (Leonotis leonurus)
  • Indian lotus (nelumbo Nucifera)
  • Honeyweed (Leonurus sibiricus)

However, one study revealed that some products didn’t contain any of the ingredients mentioned above. 

Common Side Effects of Fake Marijuana

With a lot of being unknown about the harmful effects fake weed has on the human body, some studies tested to identify these effects. A DEA report found that synthetic cannabinoids may cause cardiac failure. Acute kidney injury is another complication that has been linked with these chemicals. 

One study compared the effects of drivers arrested under the influence. The group with smoked synthetics experienced a marked increase in motor control, confusion, and indecision than the one that was high on Marijuana when the accident happened. Some participants also reported having slurred speech — a symptom that is not associated with natural cannabis use. 

The DEA has also highlighted some short-term side effects of Fake weed use. These include:

  • Seizures
  • Anxiety
  • tremors
  • high blood pressure

We still have to establish whether these side effects persevere for the long haul and develop into something more serious. Of course, the act of smoking in itself is damaging to the lungs. 

Recently, another very dangerous form of synthetic cannabinoids has entered the fake weed debate. Riddled with rat poison, it can cause many users to bleed profusely, resulting in chronic injuries and even death. 

If someone you know has experienced these effects because of synthetic marijuana use, the FDA recommends to call an ambulance immediately or call 911 for immediate assistance. 

Signs of Use

Knowing the signs of synthetic marijuana use can help you take prompt action in a fake weed associated emergency. Some prominent indicators of fake weed use in individuals include: 


  • Burning incense
  • Buying or using eye drops
  • Possessing dried plants or herbs
  • Having rolling papers or vape pens
  • Receiving suspicious packages in the mail
  • Displaying unusual or secretive behaviors

Physical effects:

  • Restlessness
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Pale complexion
  • Acting confused

Common Confusions

One of the biggest myths surrounding synthetic weed is that it’s “all-natural.” This is not true in the slightest. Herbal buds are laced with hundreds of unnatural chemicals sprayed on them to keep up chemical appearances. 

Synthetic weed is also far more impacting. It contains THC-like substances and synthetic cannabinoids that may be more than 500 times more powerful in action than the THC of Marijuana. 

Substance Abuse Potential and Withdrawal

If you’re using fake weed regularly, then you might develop an addiction. This may make you physically and psychologically dependent. As a result, you might experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to get off the drug. Often users who take fake weed also develop a tolerance to its effects. They’re no longer able to break the plateau of a high. 

How Long Does Fake Weed Last in My System?

If you’re wondering how long synthetic Marijuana stays in your system, then there’s no straight answer. A drug’s longevity may depend on various factors, such as height, tolerance to the drug, metabolic weight, amount consumed, and frequency of use, among other things. 

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