Just when most workplaces have started implementing drug testing programs that effectively screen users of illegal substances such as cannabis, cocaine, ice, and heroin, here comes synthetic cannabis, a drug that is proving to be quite difficult to detect by normal drug testing methods. What makes things worse is that there is an increased prevalence of synthetic cannabis use in workplaces these days, making it harder for employers to effectively implement their work health and safety programs.
Synthetic cannabis more dangerous than real cannabis
Commonly marketed under names such as Spice, Kronic, and K2, synthetic cannabis produces effects that are similar to marijuana. However, it is actually more dangerous than real cannabis, as the former contains manufactured chemicals designed to mimic the effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main and natural active ingredient of cannabis.
Through all the years since synthetic cannabis hit the market, there have been tons of reports about its adverse effects on users. There are users who say they have experienced chest pains, elevated blood pressure, and increased heart rate after using synthetic cannabis. It is also common for users of the drug to become easily agitated and aggressive. Some users have also reportedly experienced seizures. Even more worrisome is the fact that it can trigger psychosis. Deaths after using synthetic cannabis have also been reported.
Why is synthetic cannabis difficult to detect
Employers may have implemented drug testing programs, but these programs are having a hard times detecting synthetic cannabis. The main reason for this is that manufacturers of synthetic cannabis constantly change its chemical composition. So if a certain drug testing method becomes capable of detecting any of the chemicals known to make up synthetic cannabis, they will simply replace those dangerous chemicals with other dangerous chemicals. As a matter of fact, by the time one iteration of the the drug becomes detectable by a certain drug testing method, dozens of other versions of the drug are already formulated and poised for release into the market.
Synthetic cannabis may have been declared by the Therapeutic Goods Administration or TGA in July 2012 as a banned substance in Australia, but it continues to make its way into its major cities and into Australian workplaces.
While the creation of a drug testing method that will accurately detect synthetic cannabis in one’s system would definitely be great, what would be even better is an intensified awareness campaign about synthetic cannabis and all its dangers. Today, most people probably just think that synthetic cannabis is nothing more than fake marijuana. The general public needs to know that synthetic cannabis is not the same as real marijuana, that the chemicals in synthetic cannabis is a world of difference from the THC of actual cannabis. After all, the chemicals of synthetic cannabis can actually kill them, even with just one dose.