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Effects of Synthetic Cannabinoids Worse Than Marijuana's [VIDEO]

Update Date: Mar 14, 2017 09:13 PM EDT

Teenagers who use synthetic cannabinoids appear to engage more in behaviors that harm their mental and sexual health. A study comparing the effects of fake weed and marijuana on adolescents shed light on their increased risk for substance abuse and violent behavior as well.

Unlike marijuana, which is derived from the cannabis plant, fake weed consists of various compounds manufactured in a laboratory. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is naturally present in marijuana. Synthetic pot produces similar effects to it but changes in its formula make the experiences of users vary.

The effects of marijuana and fake weed on behavior are vastly different.

People feel "high" during marijuana use, along with altered senses and mood, and sense of time. It negatively impacts memory, thinking and problem-solving skills, and body movement according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Smoking marijuana starting in teenage years may contribute to the deterioration of mental abilities, and the damage may last long.

Based on the responses of 15,624 high school students to the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, analysis of the data revealed that students who had used synthetic cannabinoids were consistently more likely to engage in risky behaviors in all four categories, especially behaviors linked to substance use and sexual activity compared to those who had used marijuana only and the nonusers.

The teenagers who had used synthetic marijuana were much more likely to try drugs such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, ecstasy and hallucinogenic than the two other groups according to the study published in Pediatrics. There were also more incidences of drunk driving, having had sexual intercourse before the age of 13 and having had sex with four or more persons.

The survey found that 61.1 percent of the students nationwide had never used marijuana, 29.5 percent had used marijuana only, and 9.4 percent had used synthetic cannabinoids.

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