by Daniel Barker
(NaturalNews) It seems to be standard operating procedure among scientists and drug manufacturers that whenever a natural substance is found to have beneficial medicinal or health-promoting properties, a synthetic version produced in the laboratory will soon follow – and often with disastrous results.
Cannabis is certainly no exception to this rule.
For decades, researchers have experimented with creating various synthetic versions of the active compounds found in cannabis – a plant that has been shown to provide a range of legitimate medicinal uses, along with its well-known psychoactive properties.
Although the marijuana plant is easy to grow, and can be prepared and consumed in a variety of ways befitting its different medicinal and recreational applications, laboratory-produced facsimiles offer potential profits to drug companies that aren't available to them otherwise.
Since marijuana in its natural form can be so easily and cheaply produced, the drug makers have no interest in it. However, if synthetic versions can be patented and marketed, there could be billions of dollars in potential sales.
The problem is, that none of the synthetic versions are as safe and effective as the real thing. In fact, synthetic marijuana – whether designed to mimic the psychoactive or physical properties of natural cannabis – has proven to be extremely dangerous, indeed.
The two main categories of laboratory cannabis
Broadly speaking, there are two general categories of synthetic cannabis: one includes versions designed to mimic the "high" associated with the natural version; the other attempts to replicate its physical or "medicinal" properties.
In the first case, the pseudo-cannabis is intended to be sold in places where recreational use of marijuana is still illegal. Commonly sold under names like "Spice" or "K2," these imitations are created to skirt the law, while providing a high similar to that of natural cannabis – or at least that's what they would like people to believe.
The truth is that, although the molecular structure of these synthetic versions vaguely resembles that of natural cannabis compounds (namely THC, the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis), its effects on the brain are quite different.
In fact, the use of Spice and other faux-cannabis products often leads to violent behavior and severe mental disorders – something that never happens with natural cannabis.
From Cannabis Now Magazine:
"Essentially, people who partake in spice are consuming a laundry list of unstable chemical compounds that have the uncanny ability to toss fragile minds into fits of psychosis and ultra-violence that remain unprecedented outside the realm of Angel Dust. Nothing drives home the sheer insanity of this drug quite like the news that often surfaces immediately after someone goes on a wild-eyed bender with this stuff."
Of course, products like Spice and K2 are made by shady, clandestine laboratories that are usually barely one step ahead of the law.
Big Pharma's versions of lab-created cannabis
But what about the synthetic cannabis drugs now being created by "legitimate" Big Pharma laboratories?
The answer is that, unfortunately, at least some of these seem to be at least as dangerous as Spice or K2 – if not more so.
As reported by Medical Marijuana Update:
"The University Hospital of Rennes, France, released a statement recently confirming that one person had died and 5 others were seriously ill following a drug trial which was aimed at treating anxiety and motor disorders associated with Parkinson's disease and also chronic pain in cancer sufferers. The drug was designed to block necessary processes in the human Endocannabinoid Signaling (ECS) system and had previously been tested on animals."
Other Big Pharma pseudo-cannabis drugs have also been shown to have serious side effects. Marinol, a synthetic cannabis drug that has been around for decades, has been associated with a number of side effects, including seizures and cardiovascular problems.
The bottom line is that none of the synthetic versions of cannabis are safe. The real reason they are being developed is so that someone can rake in huge profits.
The best case scenario is that cannabis will eventually be legalized everywhere, so that those who wish to benefit from it can either easily and cheaply obtain it, or be allowed to grow their own.