Cannabinoids are the active compounds in the cannabis plant that produce its medicinal and recreational properties. CBD and THC are the two most well-known cannabinoids that are naturally-occurring in cannabis and included in full spectrum CBD oil products.
Synthetic cannabinoids are dangerous man-made cannabinoids commonly designed to have similar intoxicating effects to that of THC. K2 and Spice are common names that are associated with synthetic cannabinoids. They are often considerably more “potent” than natural THC and have very dangerous potential side effects.
While THC is generally considered safe and non-addictive, designer synthetic cannabinoids are a direct contrast. Deaths and near-fatal side effects have been reported with synthetic cannabinoids.
Why Are Synthetic Cannabinoids Dangerous?
Part of the reason why synthetic cannabinoids are so dangerous is because of how they operate compared to THC. While THC is only a partial-agonist to endocannabinoid CB1 receptors in the brain, unnatural synthetic cannabinoids are full-agonists. They bind completely. Because of this, the body is unable to effectively remove and “deactivate” the synthetic cannabinoid like it can with natural THC. Often, the result is complete destruction of the endocannabinoid receptor itself.
These synthetic cannabinoids are unregulated, potent at very small doses, and always evolving. This mixture creates much cause for concern and is one of the leading reasons for reports of overdoses and deaths. Because the quality control is nonexistent, one product could have minute amounts of the designer drug while the next has enough to send you to the hospital. Some of the serious side effects reported include seizures, cardiac problems, stroke, and kidney damage.
Synthetic Cannabinoids and CBD Oil
Unfortunately, the unregulated CBD industry seems to have become a target for synthetic cannabinoids. Some products sold as CBD oil are actually covers for these synthetic products. Some don’t contain any CBD at all. Unsuspecting customers looking for real CBD purchase these products and unknowingly consume the dangerous synthetics. At best, the side effects cause the consumer to think CBD is bad and dangerous, despite it not being CBD causing the problems. At worst, they end up in the hospital. These chemicals not only harm the customer, but also the industry itself.
Trying to purchase safe and legitimate CBD products can be a confusing and frustrating process. We highly recommend thoroughly researching brands that you come across. Checking for news reports, customer reviews, and independent third party lab reports are some of the ways to determine if a product may contain synthetics.
Natural CBD products should never cause intoxicating “highs” or severe concerning side effects. Reviews of a product that include these effects should definitely be considered a red flag. Many of the dangerous products are commonly found in gas stations or vape shops. The products often lack third party lab testing or have no specific amount of CBD on the label. Purchasing directly from manufacturers can lessen the chances of your product having been tampered with, as well as lessen the chances of it containing potentially dangerous synthetics.
Ultimately, the best way to ensure that you are getting a safe CBD product is to buy from a safe and reputable CBD brand that has been vetted by experts in the industry.