K2, Spice and Fake Weed unlike natural marijuana, can cause a huge variety of symptoms, which can be severe and even deadly.
In recent years, one of the most commonly abused drugs – synthetic cannabinoids, has caused such an alarm that all 50 states have banned “synthetic marijuana.”
The federal government has classified some of the chemicals used to produce synthetic cannabinoids as schedule 1 substances, making it illegal to buy, sell, or possess anything containing those chemicals.
In response, manufacturers and vendors package the drugs as incenses or aromatherapy products, often alongside labels that claim the drugs aren’t for human consumption. The clever packaging lets sellers skirt laws and the oversight that would otherwise prohibit sales.
Legal loopholes make synthetic marijuana as easy to get as buying a candy bar, according to US Sen. Charles Schumer who urged the federal government. According to Schumer, the US has banned only 20 of the 300 chemical substances used in synthetic drugs, leaving drug makers several steps ahead in what he called a game of “whack-a-mole.”
Synthetic drug use is on an upswing, and that is largely because synthetic drug makers are skirting around restrictions that have been put in place by developing new, dangerous chemical compounds that are not yet regulated,” Schumer said. “As a result, more and more kids are ending up in the emergency room, and it is time for federal law to catch up.”
Synthetic marijuana or synthetic cannabis such as K2, Spice and Fake Weed unlike pot, however, can cause a huge variety of symptoms, which can be severe. These symptoms include: agitation, vomiting, hallucination, paranoia, tremor, seizure, tachycardia, hypokalemia (a life-threatening deficiency of potassium in the bloodstream), chest pain, cardiac problems, stroke, kidney damage, acute psychosis, brain damage, and death.
A major issue with synthetic marijuana is its potency. “Its potency can be up to one hundred or more times greater than THC – that’s how much drug it takes to produce an effect,” says Paul Prather, PhD, professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “So it takes much less of them to produce maximal effects in the brain. So these things have higher efficacy and potency…These things are clearly very different from THC and thus not surprising that their use may result in development of life-threatening adverse effects.”
Unlike heroin and cocaine, synthetic cannabis not made using just one chemical. Synthetic marijuana can be made with nearly 100 different chemicals that are often sprayed onto dried, shredded plant material. While different chemicals are used, the compounds have similar traits. All of them are active at the CB1 receptor in the brain. Cannabinoid receptors, located in the brain, are part of the Endocannabinoid system which is involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory. This is the same receptor activated by consuming marijuana which is why this class of drugs is commonly called “synthetic cannabinoids.”
Yasmin Hurd, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, and Neuroscience at Mount Sinai Medical Center, says that the wide distribution of CB1 receptors in the brain is exactly why they’re so toxic. “Where they’re located is important – their presence in the hippocampus would be behind their memory effects; their presence in seizure initiation areas in the temporal cortex is why they lead to seizures. And in the prefrontal cortex, this is probably why you see stronger psychosis with synthetic cannabinoids.” The cardiac, respiratory, and gastrointestinal effects probably come from the CB1 receptors in the brain stem. It might be any one of these that produces the greatest risk of death.
A synthetic cannabis overdose looks totally different from a pot “overdose.” Clinically, they just don’t look like people who smoke marijuana,” says Lewis Nelson, MD, at NYU’s Department of Emergency Medicine, Division of Medical Toxicology. “Pot users are usually interactive, mellow, funny. Everyone once in a while we see a bad trip with natural marijuana. But it goes away quickly. With people using synthetic, they look like people who are using amphetamines: they’re angry, sweaty, agitated.”
When we consider the vast number and types of substances that are being abused and the devastation that they cause to the abuser, their family and our communities, we can be overwhelmed and look at “The War on Drugs” as a losing battle. But if we look to our Lord and Savior, we can find strength, resolve and confidence that there is hope for deliverance and freedom from the bondage of addiction.
“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27
“Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17
The same omnipotent God that made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them can empower those who are powerless against their addiction to be set free if they are willing to surrender their lives to Him.
Alcoholism and other drug addictions are spiritual bondages that result in physical and mental illnesses and can lead to death.
First of all, we must recognize who or what we are fighting:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
Drug abuse is not just a physical addiction or a biological or chemical problem – it is a spiritual stronghold. Pharmakeia is a word found three times in the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. It is the root word from which we get our English word pharmacy or pharmacist. Pharmakeia is translated as witchcraft or sorcery. It speaks of the occult magical arts which are often found in connection with idolatry. Drug and alcohol abuse like witchcraft, are powerful, demonic strongholds.
Secondly, we must know how the battle is fought:
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:4
To break the bondage and tear down the strongholds of addiction, we who have placed our trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross need to pray for the addicted so that they will come to the end of themselves and seek God for deliverance and forgiveness of their sins.
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:13-16
Our prayers of faith can be further empowered through fasting:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6
After Jesus was baptized by John, he left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where for forty days he fasted and was tempted by the devil. When the devil had finished all this tempting, Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit.
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:16-19
As followers of Christ, God has authorized and empowered us to participate in the ministry of His beloved Son. We too are to proclaim the good news of the gospel, and in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, set free those who are slaves to addiction.
If you are abusing alcohol or other drugs and want to lead a victorious life and be set free from addiction you need to have a relationship with the LORD God, Creator of the heavens and the earth. To find forgiveness and freedom, pray the following prayer or a similar prayer in your own words –
“Lord Jesus Christ,
I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to earn my way to heaven. Although I deserve God’s wrath, by God’s mercy, I accept your free gift of eternal life by faith. I believe that You were born of a virgin and died on the cross to pay the price of my sins. I believe you were buried, rose again on the third day, have ascended into heaven, and will soon come again.
Lord, please forgive me of my sins, come into my heart and take control of my life.” AMEN