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A research group at the University of Texas recently released a study showing that people who have used synthetic marijuana are more likely to have tried heroin, ecstasy and alcohol. They are also more likely to have engaged in physical altercations.
“The findings illustrate a dramatic difference in the association with risky health behaviors by type of marijuana use. We found that students who used synthetic marijuana had a significantly greater likelihood of engaging in the majority of health-risk behaviors included in the study compared to students who used marijuana only,” explained Heather Clayton, lead author of the study.
In addition to these findings, the researchers also found that students with depression or anxiety symptoms were more likely to experiment with and use synthetic marijuana.
What is especially interesting about this study is that synthetic marijuana, or Spice, is most commonly found in gas stations and specialty shops. Children and teenagers are most likely to purchase this drug and many have the misconception that it is safer than drugs found on the street. However, according to the data, the drug actually leads users to try other street drugs as well.
This would make sense to anyone once they understand exactly what synthetic marijuana is. In order to produce a high similar to marijuana, the substance must be covered in certain chemicals that are 40 to 600 times more potent than regular marijuana. So, when people use this drug they often suffer from convulsions, extreme paranoia, auditory and visual hallucinations and extreme aggression. In fact, the drug is so powerful that some users have even suffered from seizures and death.
And while many forms of synthetic marijuana have banned in the United States, manufacturers are constantly changing the recipe, therefore avoiding the government’s restrictions. While the country is continuing the long fight against prescription painkillers and heroin use, it may be that synthetic marijuana is encouraging some people to experiment with the dangerous drugs.