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What do some pot smokers turn to when they’re low on money but still want to get high? That would be synthetic weed, otherwise known as Spice, K2, and so on. Not only is it cheap, but it’s also just as easy to get as the real deal, if not more. In fact, you can find this stuff on the streets for as little as five bucks. But how safe is it? If you ever consider turning to fake pot in desperate times, do think twice. From the toxic chemicals found within to the health risks users experience, here are four dangers you should know about synthetic cannabis.

1. You can overdose on synthetic cannabis

X Dangers You 1 4 Reasons Why Smoking Synthetic Cannabis Is So Dangerous
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Unlike cannabis in its pure form, you cannot smoke as much fake pot as you want. Not without losing your life, anyway. Between July 7 and July 10 of this year, over 100 people overdosed on K2, one of the many types of synthetic pot in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. And that’s only one example.

On May 24th, officers in Syracuse, N.Y. responded to 15 overdose calls near the Syracuse shelter in just 24 hours.  According to the Syracuse Rescue Mission staff, there were so many that they had to send out seven extra ambulances just to handle them all.

And in New Zealand, up to nine people have been reported to have died from smoking synthetic cannabis.

2. It puts you at risk for numerous health problems

X Dangers You 2 4 Reasons Why Smoking Synthetic Cannabis Is So Dangerous
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Just a small amount of fake weed can have a significantly stronger effect on the brain’s cannabinoid receptors than the real deal. But that’s no reason to give it a try.

Because synthetic cannabis lacks the anxiety-reducing actions of the plant’s other chemicals, you are putting yourself at risk for far more than just an anxiety attack. As a result of smoking fake pot, you are also opening the door to kidney failure, seizures, heart attacks, and so many other health issues.

3. The high is nothing worth boasting about

Warning: the above video will disturb you. But if you want to know what it’s like to be high on synthetic weed, then perhaps you need to see for yourself. After watching just a few seconds of the clip, you’ll soon realize it’s not anywhere close to what you experience after a couple of puffs of regular cannabis.

Some of the most common side effects of synthetic cannabis include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Hot flashes / cold flashes
  • Isolation
  • Violent temper tantrums

In a nutshell, fake pot is nothing like the original Mary Jane. Spending one night with this stuff is enough to make you want to quit psychedelics altogether. Don’t learn the hard way.

4. The ingredients are equally alarming

X Dangers You 3 4 Reasons Why Smoking Synthetic Cannabis Is So Dangerous
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For the most part, the chemicals used in synthetic ganja ships from China to the US, where manufacturers then prepare the blend using either alcohol or acetone solvents. Each product is also coated with synthetic cannabinoids – a family of over 700 research chemicals. Some have even been known to contain the prescription drug phenazepam.

Synthetic cannabis has been reported to contain fly spray and other toxins. But at the end of the day, one may never know exactly what they’re smoking, according to Drug Enforcement Agency Senior Forensic Chemist Jill Head,

What we’ve seen is that once a particular compound or drug is controlled, whoever is making the formulation for the new one is aware of that, and changes the molecule just so, so that it remains active in the body.

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