Signs, Symptoms & Effects of Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

What is Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

Learn More About Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

If you’ve developed a problem with synthetic marijuana, then you’re probably aware of the dark turn that your life has taken.

This dangerous substance is manmade and is a far cry from traditional marijuana despite the fact that it was originally portrayed as a safer alternative. When consumed, synthetic marijuana, which is also known as K2, spice, or potpourri, can cause extreme emotional detachment from one’s surroundings and can even induce terrifying episodes of psychosis. Furthermore, those who abuse this substance can never truly know what they are ingesting, as the ingredients in synthetic marijuana frequently change depending on who is manufacturing it. Over time, and the longer that this drug is abused, the effects that can result can be devastating.

If you’re tired of your day revolving around the desire to use and the actual abuse of synthetic marijuana, know that there is another way to live. By seeking effective treatment, you can reclaim your life from synthetic marijuana and begin living the sober lifestyle you deserve to be living.


Statistics of Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

Emergency rooms all over America are seeing a surge in the number of people needing medical care after consuming synthetic marijuana. Despite the fact that this substance has only appeared on the drug scene within the last decade, this illicit drug is proving to be very problematic for countless individuals. Poison control centers are reporting almost 5,000 cases of synthetic marijuana poisoning each year. Almost 12,000 emergency room visits in the last few years were also due to the abuse of this drug according to DAWN, or the Drug Abuse Warning Network. Given the popularity of this dangerous drug, it’s clear that more community awareness and outreach needs to be done.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and Risk Factors for Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

A great deal of research has been done to help people like you understand why and how the abuse of synthetic marijuana happened and evolved into an addiction. The following causes and risk factors are those that can assist you in comprehending why you’re struggling with a synthetic marijuana abuse problem:

Genetic: If you have other family members who struggle with substance abuse, it’s quite possible that your genes are partially responsible for why you’re grappling with a synthetic marijuana addiction. Research has isolated certain genes that can make people susceptible to substance abuse, and there’s a good chance that you possess these genes if you have a family history of addiction.

Environmental: Synthetic marijuana is a drug that is often introduced to people when in an atmosphere in which drug use is occurring. This is an example of how your environment can contribute to your likelihood of abusing synthetic marijuana. Additionally, if you can easily get this substance, have a history of trauma, or don’t have good coping skills and adequate support from others, you may be at an increased risk for abusing and becoming addicted to synthetic marijuana as well.

Risk Factors:

  • Prior substance abuse, especially at an early age
  • Having a traumatic past
  • Family history of substance abuse and addiction
  • Being of younger age
  • Being male
  • Poor stress-management skills
  • Living in poverty
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Lack of parental involvement during childhood

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

There are many indicators that can suggest that you’re struggling with the abuse of synthetic marijuana. The following behavioral, physical, cognitive, and psychosocial symptoms are those that can give you a clearer idea if you have a problem with this drug:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Deception regarding one’s actions and whereabouts
  • Overt aggressiveness
  • Violent behavior
  • Lack of attention to grooming and personal hygiene
  • Frequent unexplained absences from work
  • Declining performance at work
  • Uncharacteristic emotional outbursts

Physical symptoms:

  • Excessive perspiration
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Numbness in extremities
  • Watery eyes
  • Increased heart rate
  • Higher than normal blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Muscle spasms

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Disorientation
  • Depersonalization
  • Confusion
  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of interest in significant activities


Effects of Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

Your abuse of synthetic marijuana affects more than just your physical and mental health. In fact, the consequences of this sort of substance abuse can be far-reaching and permanent if you’re not careful. If you’d like to prevent the following from happening to you, it’s best to think about getting professional help:

  • Cognitive impairments
  • Chronic unemployment
  • Brain damage
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Attempts at suicide
  • Family discord
  • Dysfunctional interpersonal relationships
  • Diminished performance at work
  • Stroke
  • Legal problems, including arrest and incarceration
  • Job loss
  • Financial problems

Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of synthetic marijuana withdrawal: Withdrawal occurs when synthetic marijuana is no longer in your system. The symptoms that you experience are your body’s reaction to adjusting to the absence of this drug. If you’ve endured the following effects, you should consider getting professional addiction treatment:

  • Hot flashes
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Cold flashes
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Vomiting
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Strong cravings for synthetic marijuana
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia

Effects of synthetic marijuana overdose: Abusing a large amount of synthetic marijuana can make you susceptible to an overdose on this drug. An overdose is most definitely a medical emergency, so if you begin experiencing the following effects, you or someone nearby will need to call 9-1-1 so that you aren’t left with permanent consequences as a result of abusing this substance:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Respiratory distress
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Delusions
  • Seizure

Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders & the Complexity of Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

Synthetic marijuana abuse can both worsen already-existing mental health concerns or cause them to manifest. Because of these possibilities, it’s important for you to consider comprehensive treatment so that you can heal and recover from all of the substance abuse and mental health issues that are impacting your life:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Other substance use disorders
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
Our Client Experience

I got tired of regular weed, so I tried synthetic marijuana. When I noticed the effect it had on my physical and mental health, I had enough. After going through treatment at Greenleaf, I am now celebrating my first year of sobriety!

– Chad U.
Take a Free Online Assessment
Marks of Quality Care
  • The Joint Commission (JCAHO) Gold Seal of Approval