Designer drugs and their dangers

Picture source: crimeincharlotte.com

Picture source: crimeincharlotte.com

Joe Brown, Photo Editor

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Synthetic drugs, also known as designer drugs are not only dangerous but also easily obtainable. Some are sold in smoke shops and convenience stores across America, legally. They are sold as marijuana alternatives (K2, Spice, “Incense”).

The production of drugs sold as marijuana alternatives started in the early 2000s. They are marketed as being “safe” (even though the packages state that they aren’t for human consumption) and won’t show up on a standard drug test.

The spice compounds are variations of cannabinoids that are found in marijuana plants (THC). Both compounds, real or synthetic, bind to receptors in the brain known as CB1 and CB2. However, the synthetic drugs activate the CB1 receptor to such a degree that it causes significantly more intense effects than THC. This is because the byproducts produced when the body breaks down the drug also activate the CB1 receptor which adds to the toxicity of the drug.  

K2 or Spice can produce a broad range of side effects such as seizures, high blood pressure, psychosis, and death. So why are they still legal? Some of the fake cannabinoids have been made illegal. However, it doesn’t matter much when the drug manufacturers change the chemical composition before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can ban it.

These drugs can also produce chronic effects in short and long term users. Along with a multitude of things, brain damage has to be the most severe right next to death. There’s also the chance of kidney damage, on top of that there’s also psychotic side effects that can include paranoia and hallucinations.

Emily Bauer, 16 year old Texan girl experimented with the drug. She suffered several seizures, which caused the death of 70% of her brain. She can’t move, can’t see, and is hardly aware of the world around her. “The Serious Consequences Of Synthetic Marijuana Usage.” Huffington Post. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-/the-serious-consequences_b_3534935.html>.

Hopefully we’ll see a ban of synthetic marijuana before it reaches anymore of the nation’s youth. It’ll hurt the accessibility of the substance and save a lot more lives. The public already has access to dangerous substances, we don’t need another retailer.

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