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Is Synthetic Marijuana Safe?

Synthetic marijuana has attracted lots of attention in the last few years both in the media, in the public eye, and in the statehouse. Maryland banned the sale of synthetic marijuana last year, and the drug is also illegal at the federal level. However, synthetic marijuana can still be found. As most drug tests don’t test for the synthetic compounds found in synthetic marijuana, many users use it as a method of circumventing drug testing.

So is synthetic marijuana (also known as spice and K2) a safe alternative to naturally occurring marijuana? The Drug Enforcement Administration classified the compounds found in synthetic marijuana as Schedule 1 drugs in 2012, meaning that they have no medical use and a high potential for abuse. Many accounts have been documented of users experiencing strange and ofter uncomfortable side effects from the drug, including extreme anxiety and paranoia, and hallucinations. Some users have sought treatment at poison control centers for these symptoms, as well as rapid heart rate, and vomiting. According to, spice use has also been associated with heart attacks in a few cases.

There have been no formal studies conducted on the effect of spice on the body. While there’s no definitive answer on whether or not synthetic marijuana is safe, anecdotal evidence suggests that it can have harmful effects on the body, as well as the potential for addiction. This, combined with the facts that users have no way of knowing the chemical contents of synthetic marijuana, make a strong case for not using the drug.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. At The Bergand Group in Baltimore, MD our therapists have over twenty years’ experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehabilitation and drug rehabilitation. To speak with someone at our office, please call us at 410-853-7691.

About The Bergand Group:

The Bergand Group is located in Lutherville, MD under the careful supervision of Dr. John Steinberg and Dr. Paul Giannandrea. The pair has created a true Dual Diagnosis and Co-Occurring Disorder treatment program in The Bergand Group. Two complimentary doctors to provide a setting in which patients can be treated and in which clinicians can work that embodies the core principles Dr. Steinberg and Dr. Giannandrea have held to in over 25 years of practice to form the Bergand Group.

As the treatment of mental health and addiction disorders requires addressing each patient’s individual needs, the ability to individualize that treatment is essential. The Bergand Group offers varying levels of intensity in outpatient services, both individual and group. Efforts are made to match clients with appropriate therapists. Pharmacologic therapy, drug monitoring and prescribing, use of antagonist and blocking agents, buprenorphine- both detox and maintenance, are offered.

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