The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the results of a new study that reveals that synthetic marijuana, known as “fake weed” has dangerous effects on teens. The study, published in the Journal Pediatrics, said that these people are more likely to use other drugs or alcohol.

According to Pediatrics, the purpose was to study the risk correlated with synthetic cannabinoid use. For this, they collected data about 36 risks in 4 subjects from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey: Substance use, violence, mental health, and sexual health.

Synthetic cannabis is considered Schedule I drug and their possession or sale is a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Image Credit: Juvenile Justice

The results are alarming

One conclusion drawn from the study is that synthetic marijuana smoker students tend to engage in risky sexual relationships compared with students who only smoke marijuana.

According to Heather Clayton, a health scientist in the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health and lead researcher of this study, the survey was answered by 15,624 American students from 9th to 12th grades.

“We learned from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey that nearly one in 10 high school students had used synthetic marijuana at some point in their lifetime,” said Heather Clayton to CNN.

The survey asked about the use of marijuana and fake weed, and they discovered that young people who used synthetic cannabinoids are more likely to being injured or having violent behaviors than others who only used marijuana. They said that teens using synthetic pot are more likely to be victims of sexual violence.

The researchers recommend to health professionals and schools to create prevention programs, including specific strategies for marijuana and synthetic cannabinoids.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the synthetic cannabinoids are human-made chemicals that can be smoked or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes. They are called “fake weed” because they have some chemicals that can be found in the marijuana plant.

On the National Institute on Drug Abuse website, they say that the synthetic cannabinoids can affect the brain much stronger than marijuana and their effects are unpredictable.

Synthetic marijuana is sold in stores with a label that says “not for human consumption” and with so many names, like Scooby snacks, Moon rocks, and Sky high.

Prevention is the key

Researchers agree that the most important thing to do right now is prevention. The fact is that selling the synthetic marijuana is not illegal in the whole country, so the access to them seems to be so easy.

In Massachusetts, the General Law was changed to include a prohibition of selling substances that could alter the state of mind.

In 2011, the US Congress approved the Synthetic Drug Control Act, and in 2016 was introduced an amendment project to the Controlled Substances Act, to add some synthetic cannabinoids, among other synthetic substances.

Source: The Chicago Tribune