Synthetic Cannabinoids and Related ER Visits
Synthetic cannabinoids or spice have proven to be among the most dangerous drug trends of recent years. They are man made chemicals that are sold mixed onto some legal material. They are sold on herbs that are legal materials and marketed as legal products not for human consumption. This is done to bypass laws that control drugs. Manufacturers may advertise synthetic cannabinoids as incense, for example. These drugs are widely available to people of all ages online, in truck stops, convenience stores and other walk-in retail shops.
These substances are most commonly smoked as marijuana is, but users cannot be sure of what they are getting from one batch to another. Not only do the added ingredients change, but new synthetic cannabinoids are regularly available. Consequently, expected effects may not occur. Also, effects may be far more adverse than ever suspected. This happens because as law enforcement identifies synthetic cannabinoid ingredients, they are outlawed. Manufacturers consequently change mixtures frequently.
Also, because products are labeled as not for human consumption, there are no governing regulations for ingredients. There may be adulterants, or ingredients that contaminate the mixtures, that cause adverse effects when consumed. Whatever the additional ingredients, however, the primary ingredients, synthetic cannabinoids, are similar in chemical structure to the THC found in real marijuana. This has led to the popular term synthetic marijuana and the belief that one may substitute these legal products for marijuana, getting the same high. They are considered highly addictive and to have no medical use.
Dangers of Synthetic Cannabinoids
The dangers of synthetic cannabinoids have proven to far outstrip effects typically seen with the use of marijuana. They tend to stay in the body longer than marijuana and to be far more powerful than marijuana. This results in a far greater need among users for emergency medical care. Some of the symptoms seen in emergency room visits for synthetic cannabinoids are:
- Hypertension crises
- Accelerated heart beat
- Severe agitation
When to Seek Emergency Care
Very often emergency medical services are needed for someone who cannot get themselves to an ER or call 911. Therefore, companions or onlookers often seek emergency care for others. Here are some signs that emergency care is needed:
- panic, agitation, severe anxiety
- disorganized behavior
- break from reality with hallucination and/or delusions
- attempts to self-harm
- aggression toward others