Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to the Coronavirus
As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at Serenity Knolls Treatment Center to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at Serenity Knolls Treatment Center.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • We are offering visitation through telehealth services so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services are being vetted and may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Causes & Effects of Synthetic Marijuana Addiction

Understanding Synthetic Marijuana Addiction

Learn About Synthetic Marijuana Addiction & Abuse

Synthetic marijuana is a misleading name for a powerful substance that can cause users to suffer from a series of negative outcomes. Often marketed as a safe alternative to traditional marijuana, synthetic marijuana is a dangerous drug that is not actually marijuana. The substance is dried plant material that has been sprayed with one or more chemicals. This substance typically interacts with the brain in a way that is similar to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabionl (THC), which is the active psychoactive ingredient in traditional marijuana. However, in the case of synthetic marijuana, which is often referred to as spice or K2, the impact of it can be unpredictable, powerful, and long-lasting. Since there is not one formula for creating synthetic marijuana, users are unable to know what substances they are consuming, and what short- or long-term effects these substances might create.

Fortunately, however, treatment exists for those who wish to put an end to their abuse of this substance. By seeking care, the perilous effects of synthetic marijuana abuse can be avoided.

Statistics

Synthetic Marijuana Abuse Statistics

According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), synthetic marijuana is the cause of more than 11,000 emergency room visits a year. Over 75 percent of these visits include male patients under the age of 29. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), poison control centers within the United States reported more than 18,500 cases involving synthetic marijuana abuse, which averages out to 4,637 cases each year. Within the first four months of 2015, the AAPCC had already reported 2,413 cases linked to synthetic marijuana.

Causes & Risks

Causes and Risk Factors for Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

Most causes of substance abuse and addiction develop in response to a combination of genetic and environmental influences. Additionally, certain risk factors can make a person more vulnerable to abusing this substance. Consider the following:

Genetic: Family history of addiction dramatically increases an individual’s risk for abusing and becoming addicted to a dangerous substance like synthetic marijuana. Advances in genetic research have allowed scientists to recognize numerous individual genes and gene clusters that are influential in determining whether a person will develop substance use disorder or not.

Environmental: Early exposure to substance abuse, the ability to access synthetic marijuana, being neglected or abused, experiencing stress, or spending time with friends or colleagues who abuse this drug are some of the environmental factors that can add to an individual’s risk for developing a problem related to synthetic marijuana abuse.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of substance abuse and addiction
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Being under the age of 29
  • Being male
  • Limited parental involvement during childhood
  • Trauma
  • Prior substance abuse, especially at an early age
  • Poor stress-management skills
  • Living in poverty

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

The following signs might indicate that a synthetic marijuana abuse problem is occurring:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Lack of attention to grooming and personal hygiene
  • Deception regarding one’s actions and whereabouts
  • Declining performance at work or in school
  • Frequent unexplained absences from work or school
  • Using synthetic marijuana in favor of other activities

Physical symptoms:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Watery eyes
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Higher than normal blood pressure
  • Numbness in extremities
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Increased heart rate

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Psychosis
  • Depersonalization

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Agitation and irritability
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Loss of interest in significant activities
  • Mood swings and changes in demeanor
  • Abandonment of friends for new peer group
  • Social withdrawal

Lasting Effects

Effects of Synthetic Marijuana Abuse

Synthetic marijuana abuse that continues to go untreated might lead to the following negative outcomes:

  • Suicidal ideation and attempts
  • Death
  • Job loss and chronic unemployment
  • Financial problems
  • Legal problems, including arrest and incarceration
  • Stroke
  • Diminished performance in school or at work
  • Dysfunctional interpersonal relationships
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Brain damage
  • Family discord

Co-Occurring Disorders

Synthetic Marijuana Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders

Those who have become addicted to synthetic marijuana might also be at increased risk for developing the following co-occurring conditions:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • Other substance use disorders

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Synethtic Marijuana Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of synthetic marijuana withdrawal: When an individual has grown dependent on synthetic marijuana, sudden cessation or drastic reduction of use will likely cause an onset of many upsetting withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • Strong cravings for synthetic marijuana
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Fatigue
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Effects of synthetic marijuana overdose: Anyone who displays the following symptoms after abusing synthetic marijuana might have overdosed and should be supplied with immediate medical attention:

  • Seizure
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Delusions
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Respiratory distress
  • Cardiac arrest

Fortunately, there is treatment available for those who seek it, and it is possible to end one’s addiction to synthetic marijuana once and for all.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Synthetic Marijuana Addiction

Why is synthetic marijuana so dangerous?

Synthetic marijuana is a substance that is made up of a variety of chemicals that are not always consistent from one batch to the next. Users can never be sure of exactly what they are putting into their bodies, and they are at an instant risk for negative reactions that could ultimately lead to an overdose.

What are the signs that someone is addicted to synthetic marijuana?

There are a number of signs that could indicate that someone is addicted to synthetic marijuana, including the following:

  • Physical aggression
  • Fluctuating moods
  • Decline in occupational or academic performance
  • Withdrawing from friends or family
  • Stealing from others
  • Demonstrating a sense of paranoia
  • Falling into a state of psychosis
  • Experiencing hallucinations

What are the long-term effects of synthetic marijuana?

Abusing synthetic marijuana can lead to a number of detrimental effects physically, socially, and psychologically. Examples can include the following:

  • Disturbed relationships
  • Interaction with law enforcement
  • Loss of employment or academic failure
  • Psychosis
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Self-harm

Can you overdose on synthetic marijuana?

Yes, the risk of overdose is high when you consume synthetic marijuana. Due to the chemicals that are used when making the drug, as well as the fact that the specific chemicals used vary from one batch of the substance to another, you can never be sure what you are putting into your body. The interactions of these chemicals with your body chemistry can potentially lead to immediate overdose after a single use.

Does synthetic marijuana cause brain damage?

Yes, the use of synthetic marijuana has been linked to brain damage. There have been reported incidents of synthetic marijuana users suffering from severe cognitive impairment, as well as other results of brain damage such as paralysis and loss of vision.

Is synthetic marijuana addictive?

Yes, you can become addicted to synthetic marijuana. As is true for the majority of substances, once you have begun abusing this drug, your body can develop a tolerance to it, meaning that you have to consume more in order to achieve the same effects. This tolerance can quickly lead to physical dependence and the development of an addiction.

Is there a synthetic marijuana detox?

Yes. If synthetic marijuana is active in your system, you can receive detoxification services in order to safely rid your body of the substance. Doing so can also alleviate many of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with synthetic marijuana withdrawal.

Serenity Knolls has an amazing staff that has experienced for themselves what it is like to suffer from an addiction. I am grateful that they were able to help my son overcome his my addiction to Synthetic Marijuana.

– Liza F.