A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics looked at the effect of synthetic cannabinoids (SCs), or ‘fake weed’, on teenagers. The study discovered that SCs do not only lead to addiction, but they also cause violent or aggressive behavior and alcoholism.
Synthetic cannabinoids mimic the effects caused by marijuana. However, they may cause stronger sensations than the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in cannabis. This is one of the main reason why teenagers use SCs. Also, they are easy to purchase, since they are sold as incense or potpourri. They are not meant for human use, and teenagers are unaware that their effects are more devastating that the THC effect.
Jeff Temple, clinical psychologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, is the lead author of the study, which can be found here. He explained how they also looked at marijuana use among teenagers and the link between natural and fake weed.
“Given that marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug by high school students in the [United States], having a better understanding of how marijuana use affects future SC use and vice versa is essential for designing effective prevention and intervention programs.”
Depression might lead to SC abuse
For the research, the scientists surveyed 964 high school students. They were asked to answer questions regarding their use of alcohol, marijuana, SC, and other drugs. They were also questioned about other tendencies, namely if they experience depression, anxiety, or other impulsive behaviors. After a year, they had to answer the same questionnaire.
The results showed that those teenagers who struggle with depression were more likely to become addicted to SCs. Although those with anxiety or impulsiveness were not linked to fake weed consumption, the authors suggested that such behaviors should be closely monitored.
SCs lead to other destructive behaviors
The survey also showed that those students who reported using SCs were more prone to start doing drugs at earlier ages than those who only used marijuana. Also, the fake weed consumers exhibited a more pronounced sexual behavior before the age of 13. They also reported having more than four sexual partners.
In the end, SC enthusiasts are also more prone to get into altercations or to consume large quantities of alcohol. Thus, the research showed that teenage consumers of fake weed were involved in destructive behaviors. Parents should pay more attention to their children, especially during these times, when synthetic marijuana is so popular among adolescents.
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