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How the Dangers of Natural Drugs Compare to Synthetics

How the Dangers of Natural Drugs Compare to Synthetics

Spice is a commonly abused synthetic drug

Drug abuse is dangerous, regardless of the type of drug being used. However, some San Diego drug users may consider the risks of a substance by its classification as a natural or synthetic drug.

What Are Natural Drugs?

Natural drugs are those that are found in nature, rather than chemically synthesized. Though most are used recreationally, some of these drugs have particular medical uses. Some common natural drugs include the following:

  • Marijuana
  • Opium
  • Salvia
  • Psilocybin mushrooms
  • Peyote
  • Kratom

Natural drugs, particularly marijuana, are some of the most commonly used in the United States. The use of marijuana can only be expected to increase in cities like San Diego as state marijuana policies undergo reform.

What Are Synthetic Drugs?

Synthetic drugs are those that are produced by any means of chemical manipulation. These drugs constitute a large majority of legal and illegal substances in the United States, and are often used recreationally. Some recreational synthetic drugs include the following:

  • Methamphetamine
  • MDMA
  • PCP
  • LSD

In addition, most prescription and over-the-counter medications are produced synthetically. A few synthetic medications include the following:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
  • Diazepam (Valium)

Synthetic drugs sometimes have a natural component to them, but are chemically altered in some way. For example, naturally growing coca leaves undergo several chemical steps to create the synthetic drug cocaine. Likewise, the oil extracted from sassafras root is an important ingredient in making ecstasy.

Which Drugs Are More Dangerous?

Unfortunately, there is no clear answer on whether synthetic or natural drugs are more dangerous. The risks of each drug are very different from one another due to several factors. When weighing the risks, it is important to consider dosage. Prescription synthetics have a clearly defined dosage range that can easily be found on the container or online. Natural drugs, however, may not necessarily have a recommended dosage range to follow, which may be a factor in the unintentional overdose of these drugs.

In comparison to natural recreational drugs, synthetic recreational drugs might be considered more dangerous to some when considering the ingredients used to make them. For example, the production of cocaine involves soaking coca leaves in substances like diesel fuel, kerosene, and sulfuric acid. Methamphetamine contains dangerous chemicals like battery acid, drain cleaner and antifreeze.

Sometimes, natural drugs like marijuana are sprayed with man-made chemicals, changing them into synthetic drugs. This is how drugs like K2, Spice, and bath salts are produced. These drugs might seem safe to the public, as they can sometimes be purchased legally. However, they can actually be much more dangerous than their natural counterparts, due to the many unpredictable effects of the added chemicals.

Contrary to popular belief, addiction is a risk of abusing both synthetic and natural drugs. Most people assume that natural drugs are not addictive, though this is far from true. Nearly all of these substances can lead to psychological addiction, and many can also lead to physical addiction.

Get Help for Drug Addiction

Addiction is a dangerous and life-threatening disease, whether it is to natural or synthetic drugs. Choosing the right treatment is essential to ensuring a successful addiction recovery. Therefore, if you or a loved one in San Diego suffers from drug addiction, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about drug addiction treatment.