Synthetic marijuana, or fake marijuana products, are products that are intended to mimic the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main active compound in marijuana. Synthetic marijuana products are often sold to persons looking for recreational alternatives to marijuana. They usually come in the form of leaves which are sprayed with laboratory-made chemicals.
The product often comes packaged in a foil wrapping and is often labeled with terms such as "not intended for human consumption". Synthetic marijuana is sometimes called names like "spice", "potpourri", "incense", or other nicknames like "black mamba".
Fake marijuana is different from other products such as Marinol, which are extracts or concentrates derived from the actual marijuana plant. Fake marijuana is not extracted from marijuana and is synthetic, which can make it more dangerous to use. Marinol and other similar products are often used for medical treatment
Synthetic marijuana is generally considered much more dangerous than marijuana. This is because the chemicals used in such substances are not consistent and can be difficult to regulate. There is generally no way for consumers to know exactly which chemicals are being used, or in what quantities. Synthetic marijuana use can lead to very dangerous side effects, including:
- Panic and severe anxiety; paranoia
- Hallucinating and/or suicidal thoughts
- Seizures and muscular spasms/convulsions
The effects of some synthetic marijuana products can be similar to those of bath salts and other synthetic drugs. As a result, some states have banned synthetic marijuana products, both for personal use and for sale.
Criminal penalties for synthetic marijuana crimes can often involve jail time and fines. Possession of fake marijuana can result in misdemeanor charges (fines of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail). However, the sale, distribution, or manufacturing of synthetic marijuana can result in felony charges (higher fines and more than one year in jail). State laws may vary with regards to the legal status and penalties for synthetic marijuana.
Some states also have related charges called "imitation controlled substance" violations. These involve fake substances that are intended to be passed off as real drugs. These may or may not involve synthetic substances. Likewise, synthetic drugs are not always considered "imitation controlled substances". However, imitation controlled substance violations often receive similar criminal penalties. Various defenses may exist for synthetic marijuana charges.
The laws on synthetic marijuana may differ widely from state to state. You may need to hire a criminal lawyer in your area if you are facing charges or have any issues regarding synthetic marijuana. Your lawyer can provide you with legal advice for your inquires and questions.