As of recently there has been a lot of talk about marijuana in the media. Marijuana legalization has been coming up quite frequently due to the election and due to many states changing their laws on medical marijuana use.  More and more government officials and politicians are talking openly about their stance on marijuana.

Along with that, there has also been a lot of talk about recently popular “Synthetic Marijuana” in the media as well.

Synthetic marijuana has been becoming increasingly popular due to its availability and “weed like” effects.  Up until recently, synthetic weed like “K-4, Mr.NiceGuy and Spice”, has been completely legal and sold in most smoke shops, making it hugely popular among teens. But more and more people are coming forward with negative side effects claiming the “Fake weed” is dangerous. Recently the DEA has been cracking down to get synthetic weed out of stores until they know the chemicals full effects.

According to Norml.org, “The United States Drug Enforcement Administration exercised its ’emergency scheduling authority’ to criminally prohibit the possession and sale of chemical agents contained in so-called ‘fake’ herbal marijuana products.”

This is a big deal considering it usually takes a lot longer for products like that to be recognized and banned by the DEA. Synthetic weed didn’t gain much popularity until late 2007 and was made illegal in most states by early 2011.

The agency says that the federal ban will remain in effect for at least one year while they further study whether these chemicals should be permanently controlled.

According to CNN “”Fake pot” has already been banned and criminalized in 18 states and several countries along with all five branches of the U.S. military.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, more states than ever are legalizing natural marijuana for medical use. Just last week the state Senate of Connecticut approved a bill to legalize marijuana. The passing of this bill would make Connecticut the 17th state to legalize medical marijuana.

There has to be a reason so many people are fighting to get “fake” marijuana off shelves and put medical marijuana on them. Maybe all of the negative talk about synthetic marijuana is making natural marijuana for medical use seem like a pretty good idea. And in comparison, it is. Here’s why…

Its Natural:

Although some synthetic weeds claim to be, none of the “legal” products on the market are completely natural. They all have been found to contain various synthetic cannabinoids, which are chemicals, produced in laboratories.

Side Effects:

Unlike with natural marijuana, synthetic weed has been known to cause allergic reactions and harm to the throat and lungs. A significant number of synthetic cannabis users reported that they had sought emergency medical help after using the drug.  The most common side effects reported were panic and anxiety.

Health Benefits/Risks

As far as I’m concerned, synthetic and natural marijuana are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. One is said to have great medical uses and the other is said to cause anxiety, chest pain and nausea.

For years millions of people have been fighting to legalize natural marijuana for medical purposes. Medical marijuana has been shown to effectively reduce unwanted spasms particularly in individuals suffering from MS; regular marijuana use has also been shown to help people manage their anxiety.

Synthetic weed on the other hand is causing some of the very things natural marijuana is trying to help. According to Anthony Scalzo, M.D., professor of toxicology at Saint Louis University “symptoms, such as fast heart beat, dangerously elevated blood pressure, pale skin and vomiting suggest that K2 is affecting the cardiovascular system of users.”

Legality:

As if the health risks weren’t enough to convince you, synthetic weed is now criminalized in the United States.  Possessing and selling the chemicals used to produce synthetic marijuana is now illegal in the United States resulting in jail time if caught.

In many parts of the United States natural marijuana for medical use is legal and in New York the state has decriminalized marijuana. Decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption.

With all that information at hand, it is clear to see why government and health officials alike agree that synthetic marijuana is a dangerous product. More and more states are cracking down on fake weed and opening up to natural marijuana for medical use. If this progression continues, the future of medical marijuana reform seems bright.