High schoolers in the United States are increasingly using synthetic cannabinoids (SCs), which are two to 100 times more potent than natural marijuana. The SCs sold under pseudonyms like “Spice” and “K2” have hazardous health effects. Now, a new study by researchers at the New York University suggests that about 3 percent of high school seniors are using SCs and 20 percent of those who use the synthetic marijuana do so at least 20 times in a month.
The study titled “Synthetic Cannabinoid Use Among High School Seniors” aimed to find the present use of synthetic drugs among high school students in the U.S. The authors of the study, published recently in the journal Pediatrics, stressed that it is more essential to track the number of current users as opposed to focusing on “ever-users” in order to assess the current extent of risk involved in using such substances.
Commenting on the observations, Dr. Joseph Palamar, one of the co-authors of the study, said, “This finding is important because it implies that half of current users are using SCs more than once or twice, which may suggest more than just mere experimentation. In fact, 20 percent of current users reported use on 20 to 30 days in the past month, suggesting daily or almost-daily use.” The findings are more significant in the light of potential harmful impact linked to SC use.
Stressing on the level of risk involved with SC use, the researchers observed that males, African Americans and those abusing other drugs were found to be more prone to frequently using SCs. The study also revealed that when compared with those using marijuana only, very few synthetic pot users believed dabbling with SC or consuming it could cause them more harm.
Need to educate young students about risks of SC use
The misconception among teenagers that synthetic cannabinoids are less harmful than marijuana underscores the need to educate young students about the nature and kind of risk posed by SC use. Moreover, some students tend to consider natural weed as riskier than other drugs considering the status of illegality related to its possession. As contemporary SC users also tend to abuse other drugs, it is quite likely that they are vulnerable to suffer from hazardous side effects.
The observations of the study are significant in the sense that they help understand the kinds of users at greater risk of using SC. The findings can help federal agencies and drug treatment centers develop adequate measures to tackle the SC menace. The research also indicates the need for further prevention focused mainly on marijuana users, specifically male and/or African American marijuana users who are more susceptible to frequent consumption of weed.
A step toward drug-free life
Marijuana in any form – natural or synthetic – is an addictive drug with a number of harmful effects on users. The presence of neurotoxin delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana is the main reason why people are unable to discontinue its use. Research suggests that early exposure to cannabinoids, just like alcohol and nicotine, could alter the brain’s reward system by creating a dopamine rush, which can lead to addiction.
The threat of addiction among American adolescents and teens is quite high. Sovereign Health understands the plight of a teenager suffering from addiction to illicit substances like SCs. Our Rancho San Diego facility makes available a host of necessary treatment procedures and behavioral therapies for its adolescent patients. For more information about our drug rehab centers for teens, call our 24/7 helpline number. You may also chat online with one of our representatives for expert advice about recovery at our teen drug rehabs.