Ever find yourself doing something truly odd? Like crawling on all fours and meowing? That’s what one young friend started doing after taking a few grams of synthetic weed. But this drug will severely damage to your brain and body in a short time. You can’t reverse most of the damage. That’s one of the reasons not to smoke weed.

Synthetic marijuana is the term for illegal products that contain manufactured chemicals called synthetic cannabinoids.  These imitate the effects of THC, the ingredient that gives you the intense high when you smoke weed. But they are more potent. There are many examples of synthetic weed but the most common ones are  K2 and Spice. Here are 6 reasons to keep away from synthetic weed. Rather, concentrate on how to quit smoking weed altogether.

1. Unregulated Chemicals

According to U.S. law, you cannot import, use, buy or sell the chemicals used in synthetic marijuana. They won’t benefit you medicinally. But there are no strong controls. Manufacturers, mainly from China, simply change the chemical structure of their substances. This way they’re not intercepted when they enter the U.S.

So you don’t know what’s in the chemicals. You can’t identify a particular ingredient that could do you long-term damage. That’s scary. If you’re using, my advice is to focus on how to quit smoking weed altogether. For more on this, see our guide.

2. Misleading Packaging

The chemicals  in synthetic weed supposedly imitate the effects of THC. Because they are not the real thing, they are supposedly safer to use. And the fact that they are mixed with ‘natural’ plants such as Oregano and Damiana leaf supposedly makes them even safer. So the synthetic marijuana is marketed as a herbal incense you can safely smoke, or a liquid incense you can vaporize, or a herbal tea you can drink. But don’t be fooled. Any one chemical in the weed can be 10 times more potent than THC. Unlike cocaine and heroin that contain a single chemical, synthetic weed can contain up to 100 different chemicals. That’s one of the major reasons not to smoke weed.

3. Unregulated Production

The chemical powders are dissolved and then sprayed onto the dried plants. These are then packaged attractively and availed to you online or at retail outlets. But you can’t even trust two lots of the same product.  For example, you may buy two packages of K2, which look exactly alike. But when you sample them, you find that they have different mixtures, potency and effects. One package could relax you while the other could make you suicidal and violent. So don’t poison your mind and body with substances that haven’t been tested at all, not even on rats. I suggest you concentrate instead, on how to stop smoking weed altogether. Proper controls are still far off. Testing companies increasingly improve their methods of detection of illegal chemicals. But manufacturers are just as steadily change the chemical structure of their products to prevent detection.

4. Effects

Since the chemicals present in synthetic marijuana are more powerful than THC, their effects are also more extreme. Between 2010 and 2012, calls to poison management centers by people taking synthetic marijuana, increased by 80 percent. In the first half of 2014, these centers reported dealing with about 800 such cases. In 2015, there was a significant rise in numbers.

Over two weeks in March 2014, about 100 people in Louisiana received treatment for overdosing. Of the nearly 200 cases at Colorado emergency rooms in late 2013, nearly 60 percent were of people below 30.

Effects on the Body

Here are some of the worrying body effects of synthetic weed. They provide yet more reasons not to smoke weed.

  • vomiting
  • high blood pressure and reduced blood supply to the heart
  • tremors, spasms, seizures
  • rapid heart rate
  • diarrhea, kidney failure
  • paralysis

Effects on the Brain

The mental effects of synthetic weed are severe and should be taken seriously. Here are some of the extreme effects:

5. Lingering Effects

Even after you’ve stopped taking synthetic weed, it’s difficult to restore your health to the way it was before.

One young man told me that when he was using, he spent much of the day staring fixedly at the wall. But two years after coming clean, he struggles to focus. It takes him several minutes to respond to a simple question. He can hardly concentrate, or comprehend anything he reads. One young lady said she continues to be weepy and to experience hallucinations a year on. All weed is detrimental to your health. It’s better to focus on how to stop smoking weed entirely.

6. Violent Acts

It’s not unusual for synthetic marijuana users to harm themselves and others as these cases show:

  • In 2013, a young mother on Spice, reportedly dumped her child in a rubbish bin. She couldn’t remember the action. She was later charged with child abandonment.
  • In 2011, a teen on K2, shot and killed a school administrator before turning the gun on himself.
  • A young man who took his first eve dose of K2, cut his throat and miraculously survived.

Learn how to stop smoking weed to avoid these pitfalls.