dangerous synthetic marijuana

Many of us out there has been in the situation where you’re downing 5 gallons of water a day in an attempt to flush marijuana out your system in time for the drug test. Whether it’s for a new job or a yearly screening, the fear of getting fired and embarrassed leads people to go through extremes to avoid this from happening.

John W. Huffman

One of these extremes is using synthetic weed; it’s also known as Spice, Moon Rocks, JWH-018 (The initials of the original chemist that created it), just to name a few. John W. Huffman, Ph.D was behind the original fake weed. He started his research on cannabinoids in the 1980s, and over 20 years his team developed more than 450 various synthetic cannabinoids that could mimic effects of real cannabis.

Schedule I substance

The reason behind all of this was to provide other scientists a way to study cannabis without the bureaucratic inconveniences of attempting to get real marijuana; after all, marijuana is still a Schedule I substance.

Hey, let’s try smoking them

Huffman said, “I always had a hunch that someday somebody would say: ‘Hey, let’s try smoking them.” He goes on to say, “These things are dangerous; anybody that uses them is playing Russian roulette. They have profound psychological effects. We never intended them for human consumption.” The effects of synthetic weed can be 100 times stronger than THC.

Side effects reported

Some of the side effects reported from synthetic weed include: seizures, vomiting, hallucinations, tachycardia, chest pain, kidney damage, brain damage, stroke, cardiac problems, acute psychosis, and even death. How is it that the effects of synthetic weed can be so deadly when real weed has polar effects.

THC in fake weed binds to the CB1 receptor

After more research done on synthetic weed, it turns out just about the only thing similar is the name. The synthetic THC in fake weed binds to the CB1 receptor, just like with the real thing. However, it acts as a full agonist rather than a partial agonist like in real weed. This means that the synthetic drug binds and activates a given receptor to produce a biological response in full. Real marijuana only has partial efficacy at the receptors.

Temporal cortex

Because CB1 receptors are located in basically every brain region, these fake compounds that are strong-binding go throughout various areas in the brain. This is what leads to the devastating effects of synthetic marijuana. For instance, if the CB1 receptors in your temporal cortex were heavily affected then it could lead to having a seizure. If the synthetic compounds in the fake weed were heavily picked up in your prefrontal cortex then it could lead to psychosis. There are so many disturbances possible with this drug.

Synthetic weed became mainstream

I recall when synthetic weed became mainstream where I lived. The idea behind it was ideal: you can get high without getting fired. Best of all,you could get it all over town and at your favorite gas station. Little did I know that this mixture that looked and smelled like my mom’s potpourri mix in the bathroom could be deadly. Sure, on the packaging it clearly states “Not for human consumption,” but cigarettes also post a warning of death and cancer on the packaging and look how many people still smoke cigarettes. When so many people around you are doing without noticeable terrible side effects it it’s hard to consider it truly deadly.

1 hit

Sadly, there has been numerous deaths related to synthetic weed. A couple years ago a 19 year old boy, Connor Eckhardt, from California supposedly only took 1 hit of the drug before sinking into a coma which led to his death.


Another reason why it’s so dangerous is that there is no quality control and the ingredients are ever changing. You never know how much you’re getting and the exact components. There are often times ‘hot spots’ in the mix where there are heavy concentrations of a cannabinoid.

Creator of the product

John Huffman, even though he created synthetic weed, believes the real thing should be legal. He said, “You can’t overdose on marijuana, but you might on these compounds...These things are dangerous, and marijuana isn’t, really.” Seeing that he is the creator of the product, I think people should heed his warning.