The Real Risks of Fake Pot

Nausea. Vomiting. Seizures. Hypertension. The side effects of synthetic marijuana are not worth the cheap thrill.

Better known by street names like Spice, fake weed, and K2, synthetic marijuana is most popular with high school-aged males. This mixture of herbs and chemicals is sold as an incense product in gas stations and labeled “not for human consumption.” Talk about a red flag.


Spice was responsible for 4.9 million visits to the emergency room in 2010, a number that continues to rise. Since Spice is a relatively new product, it’s difficult for doctors to determine exactly how to treat hospital patients suffering from the dangerous effects of the drug. What is known is that Spice is linked to kidney failure and has led to the deaths of several otherwise healthy young adults.

And even if using Spice doesn’t land you in the hospital, or worse, you can look forward to a long list of nasty side effects such as paranoia, vomiting, hallucinations, and major-league anxiety.

If the health risks aren’t enough, the Army banned the use of synthetic marijuana in 2012. Using Spice is not only inconsistent with the values of being a Soldier, but could be a career-ending mistake. Using, possessing, or bringing synthetic marijuana into an Army installation or vehicle violates Army Regulations (Army Directive 2012-14).


“It’s like playing Russian Roulette. You don’t know what it’s going to do to you,” said the creator of Spice, chemist John W. Huffman.

Spice is essentially made from a witch’s brew of dangerous chemicals that lurk behind the “all natural” labels slapped on many synthetic marijuana products. And if you think this stuff is tightly regulated, guess again. Spice blends are often made in China, then imported into the U.S. Manufacturers continue to add new chemicals as the original ingredients are outlawed, making the contents nearly impossible to monitor.

Don’t gamble on this drug’s safety. A cheap and easy high is not worth your job or your life.


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