Synthetic Marijuana may make fatal effects: Study

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on March 21, 2017.

In recent times, marijuana is largely seen as a relatively benign drug that produces a typically mellow high, but new study shows that the drug called synthetic cannabinoids or synthetic marijuana appears to be more fatal effects to its users, particularly for teens and young adults.

A recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says young people who use synthetic marijuana are more likely to use other drugs, such as alcohol, heroin and ecstasy, as well as behave violently including physical fights, and make high-risk sex, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.

Heather Clayton, first author of the paper and a health scientist at the CDC said, "We found that students who used synthetic marijuana had a significantly greater likelihood of engaging in the majority of health-risk behaviors included in the study compared to students who used marijuana only”.

Notably, the researchers went through at data from a survey conducted yearly by the CDC called the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. In 2015, more than 15,000 students in grades 9 through 12 from all over the U.S. took part in the study. The survey asked students to report certain behaviors across four areas: violence, mental health, sexual health and drug use, including whether they had ever used marijuana.

The researchers found that nine percent of students reported using synthetic marijuana while 30 percent had only tried marijuana. They also noted that depressive symptoms, but not anxiety or impulsivity, were predictive of later synthetic marijuana use, suggesting that symptoms of depression may increase the likelihood of use.

Synthetic cannabinoids often called "fake weed" are a large group of chemicals that are similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana that produces its hallmark effects. These chemicals, which are considered as much as 40 to 600 times more potent than THC, may be sprayed on plant-based materials that resemble cannabis and sold as "not for human consumption" potpourri or incense at stores.

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