Spice will do more than just derail – or unceremoniously cut short – one’s Navy career, according to an observation made by a Navy psychiatry resident. Using synthetic drugs, such as spice, may also put one at risk for developing serious and long-term mental disorders.
A feature on the Navy Times shared that the observation came from Lt. Cmdr. Donald Hurst, MD, a third-year resident at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. Lt. Cmdr. Hurst had worked with 17 patients who were treated for Spice use at the medical center; these Sailors were admitted into the psychiatric ward for various mental issues, and were described as “healthy” male Sailors or Marines, aged 21 to 25.
The patients seen by Dr. Hurst experienced anxiety, depression, paranoia and hallucinations. He shared: “They were all very paranoid that the government was after them, their parents, their commands … with fixed delusions.” Hurst added further that some of the patients were seeing visions of people who were not actually there, and all of them had flat facial expressions, which Hurst described as a “hallmark of psychosis.”
Based on his observations, Hurst said that Spice, and other synthetic drugs like it, should not be “taken lightly.” He also said that users of these substances “are risking inducing psychosis, a mood disorder.”
The feature discussed further that synthetic drugs may have a more permanent effect on its users than pot, despite the fact that they seem to induce the same effects. THC, the main chemical in marijuana, searches and temporarily binds itself to cannabinoid receptors in brain cells; synthetic chemicals, however, bind themselves to these receptors at 200 times the level of THC.