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10 Things to Know About Dangerous “Mojo”

10 Things to Know About Dangerous “Mojo” Synthetic Marijuana

Synthetic cannabinoids are man-made mind-altering chemicals that are sprayed on plant material to be smoked or liquified. Synthetic marijuana such as the Mojo drug, often causes a legal high while producing a number of side effects including surreal feelings, hallucinations, aggression, or heart palpitations. Since synthetic cannabinoids do not occur naturally, it is crucial to understand their impact on your long and short-term health.

How Do Cannabinoids Work?

Natural cannabinoids obtained from various types of cannabis imitate compounds produced by the human body, bind to receptors, and affect many physiological processes. Different cannabinoids bind to specific receptors, influencing how the human body reacts to the substance, as a result producing various effects. Without a doubt, natural hemp compounds have a lot to offer, as indicated by years of research.

Despite the prevalent bad reputation, even the scientific community cannot deny THC its few benefits, such as calming and relaxing properties, temporary pain relief, and, unfortunately, its addictive and intoxicating effects. CBD, on the other hand, has been extensively studied as one of the hundreds of marijuana components without addictive and intoxicating properties. The derivative is especially crucial for the treatment and management of childhood epilepsy syndromes that do not respond to antiseizure medications.

What is Synthetic Marijuana?

Addiction recovery advocates, hospitals, and law enforcement agencies face significant challenges from the rise of synthetic marijuana, such as the Mojo drug, as these powerful, mind-altering, and unpredictable drugs are causing a wave of hospitalizations, mental health issues, and public safety calls.

Synthetic cannabinoids are substances that mimic the effects of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. They constitute the largest group of new psychoactive substances. They are most often available in a form resembling dried marijuana – initially appearing as a powder or liquid in which the dried fruit is soaked. These are dangerous substances, achieving a power several dozen times greater than THC,  affect more brain receptors than natural substances, and in effect can even lead to death.

Medicine Bottle Filled With Marijuana

The Effects of Synthetic Marijuana

Our understanding of the effects of synthetic cannabinoids on the human body is based on research on the THC contained in marijuana. Natural THC is a relatively weak and only partial agonist of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, and synthetic cannabinoids are full agonists with incomparably more significant outcomes. This means that even a very high dose of THC does not affect the human body as severely as a small dose of an artificial substance, including the Mojo drug. It is difficult to determine whether synthetic marijuana stimulates cannabinoid receptors to such an unprecedented degree or whether they act by interacting with other non-cannabinoid receptor systems. Noticeable changes in behavior occur immediately after consuming the drug, and the effects might vary in intensity depending on the synthetic cannabinoid used and its dose. Because of its strength and unpredictable chemicals used in manufacturing processes, synthetic marijuana can have many side effects beyond the feeling of relaxation and euphoria commonly associated with marijuana use. These will generally include:

  • Confusion
  • Chaotic and unreasonable reactions, similar to a large dose of alcohol intoxication
  • Distraction
  • Uncontrolled bouts of laughter
  • Speech disorders
  • Balance and coordination disorders
  • Poor control / no inhibitions
  • Euphoria or agitation
  • Changes in perception
  • Disturbance of the sense of time
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory impairment or even amnesia

What is the Mojo Drug?

Mojo drug, similarly to “Spice” or “K2,” is a brand name of synthetic cannabis made by treating the herbal or organic matter with chemicals that imitate the effect of THC. Mojo drug should not be confused with Marinol, an FDA-approved form of synthetic cannabis used to treat anorexia in people with HIV/AIDS and to mitigate symptoms such as nausea and vomiting among patients undergoing chemotherapy. Mojo is unpredictable and dangerous, and it has resulted in thousands of emergency room visits, especially among young people.

Until recently, synthetic marijuana was sold in head shops and gas stations throughout the country. The DEA included synthetic cannabis substances, including Mojo, to the Schedule I drugs, indicating no medical use benefits and a high chance of addiction and abuse. Mojo products typically contain the AB-CHMINACA chemical that triggers similar effects as its natural colleague. Mojo isn’t the benign marijuana substitute, and knowing more about this substance can help parents recognize when a loved one may be using this dangerous drug. A clearer view of the facts may convince users to seek drug addiction therapy to end a potentially deadly habit.

How Is Synthetic Marijuana Made

Synthetic marijuana is made by spraying chemical compounds on dried herbs or spices. There are a variety of different chemicals used to manufacture synthetic marijuana, and part of what makes the drug so dangerous is the fact that consumers have no idea what chemicals were used. There’s no universal standard for making synthetic marijuana, and no regulations exist ensuring their safety.

Synthetic marijuana was originally developed by a Clemson University researcher, John W. Huffman. Huffman created synthetic versions of marijuana to study how THC stimulates a brain receptor. At some point, Huffman’s research fell into the wrong hands, and synthetic marijuana began flooding the streets. Huffman, who is now retired, has spoken out against the recreational use of synthetic marijuana, urging people not to use it, comparing it to playing Russian Roulette.

Mojo is More Powerful Than Marijuana

Synthetic marijuana is typically much more potent than natural cannabis, and Mojo is no exception. Depending on the chemicals used to create the product, synthetic marijuana can be 1 to 800 times more powerful than natural cannabis – Mojo products were found to be fifteen times stronger. The thickness of the coat of chemicals applied to the organic material used in Mojo can also affect its strength. Material coated with a very light coating may not be as harmful, whereas a substance that gets sprayed with a heavy layer could be much more potent.

Overdosing on Mojo

It is possible to overdose using synthetic marijuana. Mojo and other substance overdose symptoms may include coma, heart attack, seizures, respiratory trouble, and stroke. If you suspect someone has overdosed on synthetic marijuana, it’s imperative to obtain medical attention immediately.

Teen Usage of Synthetic Marijuana

Teen usage of synthetic marijuana is alarmingly widespread. In 2012, about 11 percent of high school seniors used synthetic marijuana in the past year, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Of the 11,406 emergency room visits linked to synthetic marijuana in 2010, 75 percent of the patients were young adults aged 12 to 29. The vast majority of all patients visiting the emergency room for treatment related to synthetic marijuana use were males. As of 2021, there is no updated data on teenage synthetic cannabinoids use, but the growing concern, wrenching national problem, and rising illegal distribution suggest the problem is increasingly persistent.

Deaths From Synthetic Cannabinoids

Deaths from synthetic marijuana use are few, but the number is growing. Newsweek reported that, between January and May of 2015, 15 people died from using synthetic marijuana—triple the number of people who died from using the substance the previous year. In 2018, state health departments nationwide issued a warning, reporting more overdoses and deaths from the substance.

Drug Testing for Fake Weed

One challenge parents and others trying to keep loved ones off synthetic marijuana used to face is that drug tests often could not detect them. Chemists developing synthetic marijuana are constantly changing their formulas, and, as a result, drug testing products do not always keep up.

According to the Washington Post, a study by the Office of National Drug Control Policy found that a large number of a sample of young men in the Washington, D.C. parole and probation system tested positive for synthetic marijuana in a specialized drug test but passed a traditional drug screen. The report advocated improving drug testing.

Users claiming the substance cannot be detected in urine tests are not always correct, however. In addition, newly designed drug testing panels can identify synthetic marijuana and its components, and innovative methods of analysis were recently implemented, including immunoassay screens for synthetic cannabinoids. These are highly sensitive and specific techniques to verify positive specimens for synthetic marijuana metabolites in the urine sample.

Potential for Long-Term Damage with Synthetic Marijuana

Because synthetic marijuana and its various forms, such as Mojo, is relatively new, there hasn’t been much research into its long-term effects. Some of the research that has been done suggests that long-term use of substances like Mojo can have some very serious health consequences. Studies have found that long-term users of the drug may suffer heart and kidney damage.

New studies focusing on the effects of chronic use of synthetic cannabinoids point to the long-term detrimental consequences on the brain, being highly associated with mood disorders and executive functions impairments. Long-term use of fake weed also indicates a positive correlation with an increased risk of depression and psychotic symptoms, including schizotypal traits, among research participants.

Addiction to Synthetic Cannabinoids

Synthetic marijuana, including Mojo users, can develop an addiction to the substance. Regular users of the drug often experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, depression, and irritability when trying to quit using the drug.

Treatment for synthetic marijuana addiction is still in its infancy, and behavioral and medical treatments for it are being developed. Addiction recovery programs can help users of synthetic marijuana who want to quit by implementing an array of customized behavioral therapies, counseling, and other substance abuse treatment methods.

Legal Status of K2 Spice

In the early 2000s, U.S. law did not fully cover synthetic marijuana, and law enforcement agencies often could not prosecute individuals found in possession of it. As synthetic marijuana has become a growing public health and safety problem, lawmakers have acted to ban the drug. In 2012, the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 was signed into law by President Barack Obama. The law placed synthetic compounds found in synthetic marijuana under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, making them illegal.

The new federal law was a response to the suicide death of David Mitchell Rozga, an American teenager who shot himself with a hunting rifle just an hour after smoking synthetic marijuana.

States have also acted independently to regulate synthetic marijuana. A large number of states have passed legislation banning substances that mimic cannabis.

CDC reports that many specific types of synthetic marijuana are now banned, making the general categories of ingredients illegal rather than particular chemicals as it was previously established.

Getting Help

Drug addiction is a major public health problem in the U.S., affecting millions of people. It’s estimated that addiction to drugs and alcohol results in $740 billion in costs related to crime, health care, and lost work productivity each year. Synthetic marijuana addiction is just as serious as an addiction to heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine, and it often requires an addiction recovery program to overcome.

If you or someone you know has an addiction to mojo, help is available. A good addiction recovery program can equip you with the tools needed to abstain from using this dangerous drug. When searching for a program, it’s important to find a rehab facility with a proven track record of success.

RECO Intensive is a Florida drug rehab program serving the Delray Beach area. A well-established program, RECO Intensive offers both inpatient and outpatient care, along with aftercare treatment programs. RECO Intensive takes a holistic approach to recovery, offering methodologies tailored to clients’ individual needs. If you or a loved one needs help overcoming a synthetic marijuana problem, contact RECO Intensive today to learn more about how their specialized recovery solutions can help.



  1. http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/chemist-created-synthetic-pot-expected-epidemic-article-1.2320653
  2. https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/synthetic-marijuana-lands-thousands-young-people-in-er-especially-young-males
  3. http://www.newsweek.com/synthetic-marijuana-deaths-tripled-year-342453
  4. https://drugfree.org/learn/drug-and-alcohol-news/drug-testing-misses-synthetic-cannabinoids-expert/
  5. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/study-some-drug-tests-fail-to-detect-synthetic-marijuana/2013/09/24/33d5153a-2552-11e3-b3e9-d97fb087acd6_story.html?utm_term=.d0771827ece4
  6. https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2012/05/24/daily-digest
  7. https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics
  8. https://recointensive.com/sitemap


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