What is Synthetic Cannabis?

Ever smoked synthetic marijuana? Find out how to distinguish between real and fake cannabis.
1 month ago
5 min read
What is Synthetic Cannabis?

Contents:

You’ve probably never heard of it, but Synthetic Cannabis has made its entry into the market since 2002. It’s sold as an alternative to cannabis. Also known as fake weed, fake marijuana, K2 and Spice, some people get confused between real and synthetic marijuana. If you want to know more and have wondered as to what is synthetic cannabis, read on as we unravel the mystery.

Like everything else in life, there’s a difference between something fake and something original. Although the name “Synthetic marijuana” suggests it’s an alternative to cannabis, there’s a world of difference between the two.

There was a time when cannabis was illegal in many locations. Later when it was made legal, miscreants spread rumors that even synthetic cannabis is legal. As a result, more people used it and had to bear severe consequences. Unlike cannabis that has been responsible for 0 casualties, synthetic marijuana has killed a few people.

Simply put, synthetic cannabis is a hard-core designer drug – nothing more, nothing less. Just before it’s called marijuana, do not assume that it works like the plant. It’s anything but natural and is usually created in labs – just like other drugs like cocaine and meth. Originally, it was made to help scientists study the depths of the cannabinoid system. However, it was misused, and the result is that it’s available on the streets now.

How to differentiate between synthetic and natural cannabis?

If you’ve ever used real cannabis, this one shouldn’t be that difficult. You already know how the original looks, feels and smells like, so you can differentiate between the two. Here are a few pointers:

Appearance

BigDaddyK Lemon AK

Traditional cannabis buds look like little nuggets of resin. You’ve definitely used them, haven’t you? They look like little sugar-coated leaves and flowers compressed together. No matter where you purchase real cannabis, they will be sold as whole buds. All buds may not look exactly alike (even if they are of the same strain) but they are certainly from one plant and that’s cannabis.

On the other hand, synthetic cannabis is ground up already. They appear like leaves and bits of many plants just thrown together. Sometimes, it looks like grass, but at other times it looks like a potpourri of different plants.

Touch

Real cannabis is dank and moist. The buds will not be too moist, but they won’t be dry to the touch either. The texture is somewhere in between. You’ll also feel the stickiness when you touch the buds – something every user loves. The stickiness is due to the resin or the terpenes found in the buds. Terpenes are the essential oils of the cannabis plant and aren’t unique to cannabis alone. This is one reason why cannabis offers so many medicinal benefits.

Synthetic cannabis doesn’t produce any sort of resin. It isn’t sticky or dank. On the contrary, it’s dry and shapeless.

Smell

Pure cannabis smells differently depending on the strains. For instance, Green Crack smells like mangoes while Zkittlez emits a distinct fragrance of fruits. Some may even smell like unwashed socks or rotten cheese! It all depends on the terpenes. Moreover, anybody that has ever used real marijuana will agree that the fragrance plays a key role in identifying high-quality cannabis.

Green Crack Auto
Green Crack Auto
Genes
Sativa/Indica
Genetics
Green Crack autoflowering
Flowering
9-10 weeks
Harvest
XL
Height
60-90 cm
THC
Very High
CBD
Low
Autoflowering
Yes
Learn more

Synthetic marijuana smells like chemicals. Some strains of pure cannabis like Sour Diesel also emit a chemical-like fragrance but it’s easy for your nose to distinguish between the two. K2 can never smell like real marijuana no matter how hard they try in the lab. A little funky and musky – sounds good, but doesn’t smell good at all.

Zkittlez Auto
Zkittlez Auto
Genes
Mostly Indica
Genetics
Zkittlez Autoflowering
Flowering
9-10 weeks
Harvest
XXL
Height
70-100 cm
THC
Very High
CBD
Very Low
Autoflowering
Yes
Learn more

Taste

It’s always a treat to take a deep hit of your favorite strain and enjoy the combination of rich flavors on your tongue. Like the fragrance, the flavor also depends on the strain and the way the herb was grown. But, regardless of the strain, the flavors are usually mind-blowing and make you yearn for more.

But, synthetic marijuana tastes like a bunch of chemicals thrown together in a hurry. It may also taste like burnt grass at times. The taste is so weird that you may end up coughing not because of the “high” it produces but due to the gagging feeling you experience.

Dangers of synthetic cannabis

Synthetic cannabis produces effects very similar to THC – tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is a cannabinoid present naturally in the cannabis plant and is responsible for the psychoactive effects you feel when you ingest or smoke cannabis.

However, THC, despite its psychotropic effects have a range of medicinal benefits and is used in high doses to help with various illnesses. The same cannot be held true for synthetic cannabis.

Once you smoke synthetic K2 or Spice as it’s usually called, you may experience hallucinations in a matter of hours. The high may not last as long as the high you feel when you smoke real cannabis. To top it off, you may feel a tightness in your chest and lungs long after you’ve smoked because it’s quite difficult to get rid of.

Like regular cannabis, fake cannabis can also be smoked, vaped or mixed with edibles. But instead of gaining medical benefits, you’ll only feel a heaviness that cannot be described in words. Original cannabis produces a cerebral high and you actually enjoy the way it takes your stress away but fake cannabis only makes you feel heavy and sluggish. Note that real buds also get your creative juices flowing while fake cannabis does no such thing.

As mentioned already, fake cannabis works like THC. Just like THC binds to the cannabinoid receptors found in the human body, it latches on to CB1 receptors and produces a euphoria that’s eerily similar to THC. However, they bind with a higher affinity compared to pure THC. Fake weed may produce some effects that make you feel like consuming real cannabis, but the problem is that it’s much stronger than real THC.

Made primarily to help researchers, it didn’t take too long for unscrupulous manufacturers to make their own version and release it into the market. Fake weed is usually prepared by combining several solvents including acetone and high-proof alcohol. No wonder your throat feels like it’s on fire when you smoke it!

During the manufacturing process, it’s pretty easy for somebody to mess up and spray too many chemicals on the plant material. This is why you may feel like you’re smoking a chemical-laden joint when you’re smoking fake cannabis!

Due to the potency, headaches, blackouts, panic attacks, and kidney failure can be expected. Basically, you’re consuming too many chemicals at once if you’re smoking or ingesting fake weed. Also known as nitro, syncanns or synthetic cannabinoids, it can wreak havoc on you and produce side effects including:

  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Breathlessness
  • Bout of coughing
  • Muscle spasms
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting

And a lot more...in extreme cases, you may also experience a heart attack. Yes, it can be fatal. From strokes to seizures and psychosis, a lot can happen if you meddle with fake cannabis. While real marijuana is used to treat illnesses, fake marijuana can make you fall prey to several problems. Thus, exercise caution and purchase cannabis only through a reputed source or grow it at home!