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Can You Buy Weed Online? What are the Dangers?

Marijuana is often assumed to be a natural drug. With the rise of marijuana legalization, people believe it is safe to use and free of adulterants. However, this can entirely depend on where and how you purchase this drug.
Batches of marijuana can contain many harmful ingredients, including pesticides and inert adulterants like vegetable oil. A batch might even be synthetic marijuana, which is very dangerous, instead of the natural, plant based drug.

Some states in the U.S. are legalizing marijuana, and others are cracking down on it. Synthetic versions of the drug are skirting drug laws and being sold legally in stores or online.

With all of these issues present, there are many reasons not to purchase cannabis through the internet. You never know where the substance will come from, and it is illegal to transport even a pure version of marijuana across state lines. Ordering weed online is very dangerous.

The State of Weed

Cannabis is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States. While the push for legalization is becoming more popular, with about half the country allowing medical use of cannabis and some states allowing recreational use of marijuana, the U.S. federal government still considers marijuana a Schedule I drug, according to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
The plant became popular in the U.S. during the 1920s, as Mexican immigrants entered the country as farm laborers. The drug was quickly adopted by the jazz community. During the 1930s, hostility toward immigrants, particularly those who worked on farms, became associated with drug abuse.
Marijuana became popular again during the 1950s and 1960s. Its use waned as law enforcement cracked down on substance abuse, and now, it has become popular again with major pushes toward legalization.
At the same time, clandestine laboratories in China and Mexico have created research chemicals and synthetic drugs that are related to cannabis, called synthetic cannabinoids. These synthetic versions of marijuana are extremely dangerous and unpredictable because they have not been tested in any setting.

Marijuana Legalization

The movement to legalize the use of marijuana began with a push for medical cannabis use. Proponents of such use claim the drug eases pain, improves appetite, and lessens anxiety, so it has been a boon for many people who struggle with social anxiety, side effects from cancer treatment, epilepsy, and similar disorders.
More recently, the movement has pushed for legalizing recreational use of marijuana, claiming that it is safer than alcohol and at least as safe as nicotine, which are both legal drugs. So far, 10 states and Washington, D.C. have passed recreational marijuana legislation.
Many people in other states want access to legal marijuana.

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For example, Colorado has encouraged a booming tourist trade for people who wish to experience marijuana cafes or legal marijuana use. Those who have purchased marijuana in states where it is legal may attempt to take the drug home, but bringing a federally restricted substance across state lines is a felony. This can lead to years in jail and a huge fine.

Online Marijuana Sales

One way some people try to avoid detection is by purchasing marijuana online. Cannabis is one of the most popular drugs to buy online, according to a Global Drug Survey report, which found that about 10 percent of people around the world purchased an illicit substance through the internet in the past year.
Since the launch of the Silk Road in 2011, dark web sales of dangerous drugs like heroin, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, and both natural and synthetic weed have rapidly increased. While the site has been shut down, there are many other sites that offer similar goods.
Buying any drug online may seem safer than trying to find a dealer, but this is not the case. Not only are you still at legal risk, but you are also more likely to have your identity or bank information stolen, and you are more likely to get adulterated products, which can be harmful to your health.

Weed Adulterants More Likely Through Internet Sources

Illicit sales of marijuana may lead to the product being adulterated with:

  • Inert plant materials like grass
  • Glass or fiberglass
  • Heavy metals
  • Synthetic drugs like fake pot
  • Vaseline, vegetable oil, or other mixes

Since marijuana is just becoming regulated at the state level in a handful of areas, there are also likely to be other adulterants in the substance from the agricultural process, including:

  • Insects or pests
  • Microbial contamination from unclean water
  • Pesticides

Fungi, bacteria, and pesticides are the most common contaminants found in marijuana, and this has been true for decades. While weed is grown in fields, the drug manufacturing process is not regulated, so agricultural practices can be risky. Sometimes, cannabis has been reported to contain other drugs as adulterants, often psychedelics.
A study from a decade ago found that marijuana processed through other countries, like India, had cholinergic compounds in it, including:

  • Datura metal
  • Henbane (a poisonous plant)
  • Betel nut
  • Tobacco

These substances can be harmful, causing hallucinations or poisoning, or they dilute the effect of marijuana, leading to unpredictable highs. Smoking, vaping, or eating cannabis that has been adulterated or diluted with any substance can cause serious harm. Pesticides are toxic, oils can lead to lung infections, bacteria or fungi can cause serious illnesses, and glass or heavy metals can lead to internal organ damage.

Buying Marijuana Online Is Illegal

Since the legalization of marijuana began around the U.S., online searches for Internet-based sales of the drug have increased every year in all but two states, Mississippi and Alabama. More people are trying to purchase the drugs not just through the dark web, but also through regular websites — sites that are allegedly based in states where marijuana is legal, social media sites, and apps on smartphones.
Websites can lie about their location. Even when their servers are based in the United States, Canada, or another country where marijuana is legal, the company may ship from China, Mexico, India, or another country that manufactures a lot of research chemicals. Your chances of getting something that is not marijuana are higher when you purchase online because you have no way of validating what you receive.
Even if you do purchase natural marijuana, grown organically in a state where it is legal, shipping it through any postal service across state lines is illegal in the U.S. This is mail fraud, and it is a federal crime that carries a heavy sentence. About 41 percent of weed online shopping was sent through the U.S. Postal Service, which looks for drugs to stop shipments and prosecute offenders.

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Get Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

According to the  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in 10 people who abuse marijuana — even in its most natural, unadulterated form — become addicted. People who are younger than 18 are more likely to become addicted to cannabis. About one in six who try the drug before becoming a legal adult will struggle with marijuana addiction.
As with legal drugs, including alcohol and prescription opioids, marijuana abuse leads to addiction and requires medical treatment. This starts with detox, supervised by medical professionals. Then, a therapeutic rehabilitation program which can provide therapy to understand and change behaviors related to marijuana use.
Although addiction is a chronic illness, evidence-based treatment can help you overcome this condition, manage symptoms, and stay healthy.