Teen Synthetic Marijuana Abuse
Synthetic marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids are an inorganic chemical that is abused in similar ways as marijuana, which means that it's sold in forms that can be smoked, vaped or inhaled via devices in liquid incense form. While the chemicals are related in some ways to chemicals that are naturally found within marijuana plants, synthetic marijuana isn't the same thing as real marijuana.
Both natural marijuana and synthetic marijuana can have an impact on a teenager's life and well-being, and synthetic marijuana comes with added complications because it's not organic and can pose additional threats related to dangerous ingredients. Even more worrisome for parents is that "fake weed" products such as spice or k2 are marketed as being safe. The labels on these products, which were sold in some areas legally at one time, often contain false information about the ingredients and the impact of the chemicals inside.
It's important to note that synthetic marijuana, no matter what anyone claims, is a mind-altering drug. It can impact the way a teen — or adult, for that matter — functions in daily life. Use of synthetic marijuana can be compulsive, especially in teenagers who are looking for ways to act out, take risks or alleviate either boredom or the stress that comes with adolescence. Compulsive use of any drug — or abuse of any drug — can lead to addiction or a substance abuse disorder that eventually branches into use of drugs such as cocaine or heroin.
Users who regularly abuse synthetic marijuana can become addicted to the drugs. With enough use, the body builds up a need for the synthetic material, and stopping use could lead to withdrawals.
For anyone dealing with a drug abuse issue, professional treatment is often the best option for putting a halt to the cycle and starting a fresh, sober lifestyle. For teenagers who have become involved with drugs or alcohol, including synthetic weed, proactive treatment can help them avoid some of the long-term consequences that come with drug use and abuse.
If you suspect your teen is using synthetic marijuana, don't hesitate to call the Teen Treatment Center today. Our counselors are waiting to answer your call at (844) 319-5239. Calls are free and confidential, so call now to speak to a caring, professional admissions counselor about treatment options.
What are the effects of using synthetic marijuana?
Side effects are different for each form of synthetic weed, because all of the chemicals aren't made with the same elements. That means that the effects can range widely, and in some cases, the impact of abusing drugs like Spice or K2 can be even more severe than abusing a well-known controlled substance.
The inconsistency in the effects of synthetic marijuana make these drugs even more dangerous for teens. Teens might be lulled into a false sense of security by the mild performance of one drug, leading them to use again and experience severe or even life-threatening effects. For other teens, the unknown becomes an exciting game, and they continue using synthetic drugs for the thrill and possible danger.
Synthetic weed such as K2 or Spice can cause a range of symptoms in the mind and body. The effect on the mind can cause the user to experience psychological symptoms such as suicidal thoughts or panic attacks. Physical effects might include tremors, hyperactivity and seizures. Long-term use of the drugs can lead to kidney damage, stroke, heart problems and even death.
How easy is it to access synthetic marijuana?
Synthetic marijuana was originally introduced in the United States in the early part of this century, and it was seen as a legal substance in almost every area. In fact, for a few years, the drugs were available at gas station counters. Companies marketed these drugs under a variety of names, claiming that they were a safe alternative to marijuana and other drugs.
As cases involving teenagers and adults came to light that showed the danger of these drugs, states began to outlaw various forms of synthetic weed. In some areas, all forms are illegal. In others, certain advertising and sales are outlawed, and many states continue to work on legislation to make synthetic marijuana less available. The drug often appears in a foil packet with a brand name such as Spice on the label.
Even in areas where the drugs can't be bought legally at a convenience store counter, they're still readily available to any teenager who really wants to try them. Teens can get synthetic weed from friends at school, from hookups that regularly meet kids at local businesses and even from some adults in their lives.
Certain types of synthetic marijuana don't show up on drug tests, making them more appealing to teenagers. Teens can stay on sports teams or manage jobs without anything showing up on drug tests.
Signs of synthetic marijuana use
While it's frightening that we live in a world where teens can so easily access drugs, parents should rely on common-sense vigilance rather than fear-mongering. Communicating regularly with your child and being actively involved in his or her life can make a big difference in whether drugs become a part of that life. It also helps you know if drugs might be a factor soon enough to seek a more successful treatment outcome.
Some signs that your teen might be abusing synthetic marijuana range from physical and mental symptoms to signs around your home. They can include:
- Paranoia and confused behavior
- Agitation or mood swings
- Inability to concentrate or problems with memory
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chest pain or problems with heart rate
- Shaking or more extreme seizures
- Strange, pungent odors on clothing
- Drug paraphernalia, including pipes or smoking devices
- The presences of odd vials, foil packages or small plastic containers that are otherwise unexplained
If you have noted some of these signs and believe your teen is abusing drugs, call the Teen Treatment Center today for help. Call (844) 319-5239 anytime of the day, any day of the year, to speak with a treatment professional.
Seeking help for teens abusing synthetic marijuana
Studies have shown that professional intervention that includes both appropriate medical detox and behavioral therapy approaches is one of the most successful ways to help someone who is addicted to drugs. At the Teen Treatment Center, our licensed staff work to understand your child's needs and create a custom treatment plan that supports his or her recovery. Some elements of our inpatient treatment programs can include:
- Medically assisted detox that helps your teen come off of drugs safely and more comfortably
- Individual and group therapy to help your teen understand drug addiction, triggers and coping mechanisms
- Social and recreational activities to rebuild confidence and develop healthy coping skills
- Academic support to ensure your teen doesn't fall behind while in recovery
- Court liaison programs to ensure any legal issues related to past drug use are being attended to
Synthetic weed detox: is it necessary?
Whether or not your teen might benefit from synthetic marijuana detox depends on a variety of factors. The length of time he or she has been using the drugs plays a role, as does the type of synthetic drugs being used. Some of the drugs have milder impact than others, and some types of synthetic drugs might not cultivate a physical dependency. In other situations, teens might be physically dependent on the drugs and experience uncomfortable and unhealthy withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, nausea, depression or anxiety. Our staff works to appropriately evaluate the needs of your teen so we can help him or her get past withdrawals safely.
Benefits of gender-separate team treatment centers
At the Teen Treatment Center, we believe that gender-separate treatment is important. It removes the distraction that can be associated with the opposite sex at this age and helps teens feel more comfortable about communicating in group sessions. It also lets us arrange the most appropriate activities for each group and reduces the temptation to step outside of a treatment mindset into an inappropriate romantic entanglement. Learn more about the benefits of gender-seperate treatment.
For more information on how the Teen Treatment Center can help your teen get past synthetic marijuana use and abuse, call us today. You can contact a counselor at (844) 319-5239 right now or complete a form on our website to initiate contact.
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