Employers: there’s a drug that should be on your radar, and we can almost guarantee that it’s not. Synthetic marijuana may be marketed as a harmless substance and sold in gas stations, but in reality, using the drug can have dangerous consequences.
Here’s what you should know about synthetic marijuana and why you don’t want your workers using it.
The Skinny on Synthetic Marijuana
What is Synthetic Marijuana?
Made to mimic the effects of pot, synthetic marijuana — also known as K2, Skunk, fake weed, Yucatan Fire, and other names — contains dried plant material and chemical additives that produce psychoactive effects.
Despite its dangers, synthetic marijuana is available for purchase at many gas stations and on the Internet. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency has deemed the 5 active chemicals in synthetic marijuana as Schedule I controlled substances — thus prohibiting people from selling, buying, or possessing the drug — but manufacturers find ways around the ban by swapping in different chemicals.
Though synthetic marijuana is packaged as a safe, natural product with psychoactive properties similar to marijuana, in reality, the dried plant matter contained in the mixture is combined with synthetic cannabinoids. As a result, the psychoactive properties of regular marijuana, including mood swings, altered perception, paranoia, and hallucinations, are all heightened. Since some of the compounds bind more strongly to a user’s cell receptors, they often create more powerful and unpredictable effects. And because production of these substances isn’t regulated, synthetic marijuana could also include substances that produce adverse effects.
Users of synthetic marijuana have been sent to Poision Control Centers with symptoms of hallucinatons, rapid heart rate, agitation, nausea and vomiting, and confusion. High blood pressure, reduced blood to the heart, and even heart attack can also result.
Synthetic marijuana is one of the most popular drugs, particularly among young adults. As research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows, emergency room visits caused by user of synthetic marijuana tripled from 2010 to 2011, with an average patient age of 23. Experts suggest the rise in synthetic marijuana usage is due to its easy availability and the fact that it is not detected in standard drug tests. This last fact should especially disturb employers who rely on drug testing to screen employees and applicants!
Synthetic Marijuana Testing for Workplaces
Worried your workforce may be into synthetic marijuana? Make sure that your drug testing program can detect these designer drugs. Partner with your nearest Test Smartly Labs for synthetic drug testing, including synthetic marijuana. Our nationwide facilities are equipped to handle all your drug testing needs!
Get started with drug testing for synthetic marijuana today by locating your Test Smartly Labs!