Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A. - Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer

There's nothing benign about synthetic marijuana

The medical community's growing acceptance of marijuana as a beneficial drug and the increasing availability of marijuana through legal means around the nation have some people confused about the place of synthetic marijuana.

Synthetic marijuana, which is also known as "Spice," "K2" and a host of other names, is not really marijuana. It is also neither safe nor legal.

Because marijuana has attracted considerable attention as a safe alternative to opioids, a lot of people think that synthetic marijuana is just as safe. Unfortunately, while the synthetic versions work similarly to marijuana, they can be 100 times more potent. In addition to having no medical use whatsoever, the variances between the synthetic drugs can be huge. All of them are made with additives that can have different effects on a human brain or body -- and none of them are controlled by any sort of official oversight.

That means that anyone using synthetic marijuana is risking their own health and safety in unknown ways. If a user has a bad reaction to something in the drug, it may be difficult or impossible for a hospital to accurately determine what is causing the issue in time to treat the problem effectively.

Synthetic marijuana shot up in popularity simply because it was readily available, cheap, effective and often just outside legal boundaries. In the past, police had to go through a complex process to obtain samples of any new synthetic drugs on the market and have them chemically evaluated by researchers. Only then could a drug be added to the list of illegal substances, making prosecution possible for trafficking or possession.

Many people still believe that synthetic substances are legal, but Florida enacted changes to its drug laws in 2016 that have largely criminalized the sale and possession of all synthetic marijuana products.

Avoid getting involved with synthetic marijuana in any way. Your health -- and your future -- could be at stake.

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