spiceOver the last few years many of you may have come across horrific stories involving the use of synthetic marijuana. While efforts have been made to stop the production and distribution of the drug, manufacturers continue to evade authorities by altering the drug’s chemical makeup; as soon as the FDA bans a chemical used for the drug’s production, the manufacturers change the formula.

Used primarily by young adults and teenagers, synthetic marijuana can be purchased at benign locations, such as convenience stores and gas stations. Many who pick up the drug are often unaware of the dangers associated with use of synthetic marijuana. A new survey has found that college students try synthetic marijuana (also known as K2, fake weed, herbal incense, plant food, Spice and synthetic THC) mainly out of curiosity, HealthDay reports.

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati found that out of more than 330 students in undergraduate and graduate health programs at a public university, 17 percent reported using synthetic marijuana at least once, and 3 percent reported recent use.

The survey found that the main reasons college students tried synthetic marijuana included:

  • Curiosity (19.2 percent)
  • To get high (17.4 percent)
  • For the “fun of feeling high” (10.6 percent)
  • To fit in (4 percent)
  • Peer pressure (3.8 percent)

“Based on the study’s findings, it appears the senior year of high school and the first year of college is the primary time for initiating use of THC,” the researchers wrote. “Perhaps, targeting middle and high school students with education programs on the negative effects of THC is needed to prevent initiation and regular use.”

The negative effects associated with the use of synthetic marijuana, according to the study in the Journal of Drug Education, include:

  • Racing Heartbeat
  • Paranoia
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches