Widely known as Synthetic Marijuana or K2 or Spice, it is an illegal and dangerous drug responsible for hundreds of overdoses and even in some cases death by unsuspecting teenagers and the homeless trying to find a cheap high for as little as $5 a bag. As reported by the New York Times, recently there has been a surge of synthetic marijuana overdoses just in New York alone in the past few months in 2018 due to toxic and defective batches being released into the community from China.
Synthetic marijuana was widely available for years over the counter in head shops and corner stores as an unregulated product that physically resembled marijuana. Recently many states have started to ban the manufacture and sale of synthetic marijuana, reportedly bringing hospital visits down by 85 percent but the problem is no where close to being solved.
Why Is Synthetic Marijuana So Dangerous?
While it’s designed on purpose to look like marijuana, it affects the brain differently than natural marijuana and according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, users can experience vomiting, high blood pressure, anxiety, agitation, nausea, shaking, seizures, hallucinations, paranoia and may even act out violently. Even further, the potency can change by the brand and even batch. According to DEA agent Barbra Roach, It’s often impossible to tell how strong a dose of synthetic marijuana can be because its lab created and the recipes change often. One batch could be 1-800 times more powerful than a typical synthetic batch.
In Illinois, there has been a recent supply of synthetic marijuana tainted with rat poison according to a statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health. This recent Illinois strand of synthetic marijuana has been tied to 56 cases of severe bleeding in 2018. Misleading marketing has also played a contributing factor to this rising epidemic. Marketed as a “safe” and “legal” alternative to real cannabis, popularity has soared in recent years especially among teens looking for a new experience.
Ultimately, like many other illegal drugs, synthetic marijuana is not tested for safety and users aren’t aware of the type of chemicals they are putting into their bodies. Not to mention that synthetic marijuana can be extremely addictive and the health effects can be life-threatening.
Is There Really a Synthetic Marijuana Epidemic?
Let’s look at the current statistics according to Poison Control.
2013 – 2,668 reports of exposure
2014 – 3,682 reports of exposure
2015 – 7,797 reports of exposure
2016 – 2,706 reports of exposure
As of May of 2018, poison centers have already received reports of 953 exposures to synthetic marijuana and the numbers continue to rise.
If you have any questions about synthetic marijuana, addiction and rehab recovery help, please contact Lumiere Healing Centers today at 513-909-2225.