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Synthetic Marijuana Rehab: Know Your Options

By Nichole Tucker, MA
Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Casarella, MD on December 26, 2021
If you or a loved one is struggling with synthetic marijuana addiction, WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.

Synthetic marijuana is a human-made product that mimics the mind-altering effects of real cannabis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says its health effects can be unpredictable, and sometimes dangerous or life-threatening. Ongoing use of synthetic marijuana can lead to addiction, which can be fatal for some and pose significant lifelong challenges for others.

Symptoms of Synthetic Marijuana Addiction

Synthetic pot reaches the same brain receptors as THC, the main active ingredient in real marijuana. This means it affects your brain, and with that comes many feelings of an altered state. 

Synthetic marijuana can change your mood, make you feel relaxed, and alter your perception of what is happening around you. It can also lead to psychotic-like effects such as: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Confusion 
  • Paranoia 
  • Hallucinations

One of synthetic marijuana’s long-term effects on the brain is addiction. Abuse of it can cause: 

  • Increased heart rate 
  • Vomiting 
  • Suicidal thoughts 
  • Dangerous behavior

You will know that you are addicted to synthetic marijuana if you have certain withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the drug. These symptoms can include: 

  • Headaches 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Irritability
  • Cravings

“Synthetic cannabinoid withdrawal ranges from mild to severe depending on the amount of synthetic cannabinoids that were used and the chronicity. When mild to moderate, it looks like withdrawal from non-synthetic cannabis, and is characterized by irritability, insomnia, and loss of appetite,” Peter Grinspoon, MD, tells WebMD Connect to Care. He’s an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. 

“Severe synthetic cannabinoid withdrawal can be life-threatening, involving seizures and cardiorespiratory symptoms, as well severe headaches, anxiety and nausea, and may need to be medically supervised,” he says.

Synthetic Marijuana Addiction Treatment Options

Experts in addiction recovery use strategies like targeted behavioral therapies and counseling to help you beat your addiction to synthetic marijuana. This is what synthetic weed rehab is all about.

Cognitive behavioral therapy involves skills-building exercises and motivation. This form of treatment has been shown to be effective in helping people to end their dependency of many different drugs, including synthetic marijuana. It may also help you stay sober in the long run. 

Counseling is a vital part of your recovery from addiction. It can help you during your withdrawal when the symptoms may seem too much to bear. A counselor can motivate you to fight through your withdrawal. And once you are sober, your counselor can encourage you to stay on track. They help you remain sober through relapse prevention treatment, which can be alone or in a support group for synthetic marijuana addiction. 

You can get better with professional care and by motivating yourself to ask for the help that you need. 

Get Help Now

It’s the first step toward your sobriety. Many people can support you while you embark on this task. Your family and friends may be a good start for seeking help with your synthetic marijauna addiction. Addiction treatment centers are also a valid option to seek support and synthetic weed rehab.

If you or a loved one is struggling with synthetic marijuana addiction, WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is another resource that may be helpful.

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