The Difference Between Cannabis and Synthetic Cannabis

Despite all the warnings that have been issued on the dangers of synthetic cannabis, it’s not enough to keep people off the stuff. And although the stuff is chemically similar to the cannabinoids found in real cannabis, it is nothing like the real stuff. Synthetic cannabis is incredibly dangerous. If you’re trying to enjoy the high of good, natural weed then you should absolutely avoid synthetic cannabis. To do that, you need to know how to tell the difference between the two. Here’s how.

What is synthetic marijuana?

Scientists created synthetic cannabis when they wanted to study cannabinoids, but faced too many legal hurdles getting real cannabis. Since then, the artificial cannabinoids made in research labs have surfaced on the streets in the form of synthetic weed.

It’s usually marketed as “potpourri” or “incense” and it often goes by names like K2, Spice, and Black Mamba. Synthetic cannabis is usually sold an assortment of ground up legal herbs that have been sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids.

The problem is that consuming these chemicals can be super dangerous. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that synthetic cannabinoids “may affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana; their actual effects can be unpredictable and, in some cases, severe or even life-threatening.”

What It Looks and Smells Like?

Using your senses should be your first line of defense in identifying synthetic versus real cannabis. Real pot is always sold as whole, fresh buds. On the other hand, fake pot is sold in small packets of what looks like ground-up grass or other plant material. Synthetic cannabis is usually made out of different plants, so if it resembles potpourri or looks like it’s a mix of more than 1 kind of plant, don’t buy it. More than likely, it will be fake.

Your nose knows – you should know what real cannabis smells like by now, at least if you’ve had some experience using it in the past. Real, fresh cannabis is dank AF and has a distinct, unique odor. Synthetic cannabis cannot replicate the smell of the real thing. Spice/K2 is described to have a somewhat strange aroma with strong chemical undertones combined with plant matter. Fake cannabis also usually has a strange flavor, so if it smells funky, don’t buy it.

What’s the difference between synthetic marijuana and traditional, plant-grown marijuana?

Synthetic marijuana is far more powerful, and it just depends on the compounds that are in the synthetic cannabinoid. The compounds itself, it’s almost like a DNA, like little piece of DNA, and some of the analogs could be 1 to 800 times more powerful, some are 25 times more powerful, some are 5 times. So it really depends on the compounds that are in the make up of it and the hardest part is, because it’s lab-created, they are constantly trying to change the analogs in it and the compounds so it’s like an unknown and then it’s not technically illegal, at least under federal law.

What Should You Do If You Ingest Synthetic Cannabis?

There are so many different forms of synthetic cannabis on the market that we can’t exactly say with precision which K2/Spice/other form of synthetic pot will produce what effect. This is because the variety of synthetic pot on the market is so great, and they are made with such a wide range of dangerous chemicals, all of which produce different signs and symptoms.

Some forms of synthetic cannabis may initially mimic the effects of real cannabis, such as feelings of elation and euphoria. The negative side effects may not manifest themselves later on. However, if you aren’t sure, be on the lookout for these symptoms:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Panic attacks
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pains
  • Muscle spasms
  • Elevated or reduced blood pressure
  • Chest pains
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Extreme confusion
  • Impaired judgment
  • Disorientation
  • Altered states of perception
  • Psychosis
  • Extreme anxiety

Chronic use of synthetic cannabis can lead to even more debilitating side effects such as seizures, strokes, heart attacks, irreversible cognitive impairment, self-injury, attempting suicide, and destruction of personal relationships. If you suspect that you or a friend may have been a victim of synthetic cannabis, the best thing you can do is to surrender yourself to the emergency room or the nearest poison control center.

Long story short: synthetic cannabis is not real cannabis. It’s very dangerous and you should avoid smoking it.