Synthetic marijuana is also known as K2, Spice, Fake Weed and many other names. It is manufactured by disreputable companies, with questionable standards and sold in convenience stores and head shops. It is used by some people as a substitute or replacement for real marijuana.
People who are unable to obtain legitimate cannabis purchase these questionable combinations of chemicals and vegetable matter attempting to obtain a "high" similar to that of marijuana.
More often than not what they get is vomiting, high blood pressure, psychosis and risk of seizures.
Many of these products are purchased online from websites based in China.
These concoctions are dried vegetation (weeds) that has been sprayed with chemicals that may or may not be similar in some way to THC or other cannabinoids found in marijuana.
Many of these products advertise "natural ingredients" that are harvested from many different plants with psychedelic qualities leading users to consider them safe.
However, these ingredients are not monitored or certified by any reputable group.
Less well advertised is the insect parts, mold, and manure that has been identified in some samples.
They are not subject to any type of testing for safety and they are not regulated in any way.
Users have no idea what types of chemicals they are putting in their body.
Real Organic Marijuana
Not Real Marijuana
K2, Spice, Fake Weed and others of this group advertise that they will not be picked up by standard drug testing methods. This may be true because the most common drug tests do not check for these unknown or little known chemicals.
To avoid regulations against synthetic marijuana these products are often marketed as incense and marked "not for human consumption".
The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports the number of calls, about synthetic marijuana exposure, that they receive has nearly doubled in the first 5 months of 2014.
Since the beginning of 2014, from 179 cases in January to 301 in May.
There is one form of synthetic THC that has been approved by the FDA. Dronabinol (Marinol) has been approved for treating loss of appetite that is causing weight loss in patients with AIDS.
Dronabinol has been subjected to rigorous testing and is manufactured to the same standards that all pharmaceuticals are subject to. It is a genuine medication when used for appropriate indications. It is not approved for the treatment of pain.
All of these products are being manufactured by unscrupulous people at very low cost to make a huge profit and take advantage of people.