Teens and marijuana use has been a topic of discussion for quite some time. Along with teen marijuana use comes the use of synthetic marijuana among teens, being marketed as “Spice.” Often times, potpourri and incense is how the drug is marketed and sold. Such labeling is misleading at best and even in a sense a criminal act. Teens refer to the substance as “fake weed,” but there is nothing fake about the effects of synthetic marijuana. This dangerous drug often leads to physical dependence and other negative outcomes.
Synthetic Marijuana Marketing Targets Kids and Teens
Due to the marketing and distribution of synthetic marijuana, the American Association of Poison Control Centers had 6,659 calls last year. Analyzing this data shows that calls have doubled from the previous year, indicating that the use of this dangerous substance is growing.
Synthetic marijuana marketing makes the drug available and also appealing to teens. The drug can be found in neighborhood convenience stores or simply over the Internet often with images teens and children easily recognize. The packaging typically has cartoon characters such as SpongeBob Square Pants and other recognizable characters. These marketing efforts aim sales targeting directly to children and young teens.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are many other brands names used for synthetic marijuana marketing. These brand names include the following:
- Black Mamba
- Moon Rocks
- Yucatan Fire
Beware of these surface level, “cute” names. They are designed to attract unsuspecting young people. Indeed, such names hide the real danger.
Synthetic marijuana is a mix of herbs and spices and other plant materials with dangerous chemicals. These chemicals have mind-altering effects. However, the effects of the drug can be very different from cannabis. It is frequently much stronger. Moreover, the plant materials contain additional dangerous chemicals. The chemicals change the drug’s appearance. The goal is to make the synthetic drug look more like marijuana.
It’s Hard to Monitor Synthetic Marijuana Marketing
Synthetic marijuana is a chemical variant of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the active ingredient in marijuana, which is very popular among teens. The goal is to make synthetic marijuana seem like marijuana so that teens who do use marijuana products already are enticed to purchase it easily. Producers modify the chemical composition for additional synthetic marijuana marketing also. Hence, creating a new legal product, unlike its brother (real marijuana). As the THC molecule gets altered, some variations are more potent than others. Consequently, it is pretty tough to monitor the drug.
There is a problematic enforcement issue. With most illegal drugs, officers use on-site testing. However, no such on-site test exists for synthetic marijuana. How can you test a drug on site that is continually changing? Such a lack of adequate testing improves synthetic marijuana marketing. Officers can’t arrest without sending the drug to a lab for costly testing. Furthermore, officers just don’t have the time. Indeed, the labs are too expensive for such cases.
What Are the Consequences of Synthetic Marijuana Marketing?
No one knows the results, especially in the long term, of synthetic marijuana use. Little research exists on the drug’s impact on the brain or body. Consequently, it is difficult to conduct studies as the chemical composition is changing to stay ahead of the law.
We do know that in the short term the different marijuana variants have caused these effects:
- Physical withdrawal symptoms, including severe tremors
- Intense cravings
- Organ failure
There is help for teens using synthetic marijuana. In conclusion, if your teen is struggling with legal drugs like synthetic marijuana, we can help them heal. Contact us today to find out more about your options in teen rehabilitation today.
Image courtesy of iStock.