The dangers of synthetic weed are becoming prominent across the country as more people realize just how threatening they can truly be.
With cannabis still illegal in several states across the nation, countless people are turning to synthetic marijuana, commonly known as “K2” or “Spice.”
The consequences synthetic weed holds however, far outweigh the “synthetic high” that so many seek in in place of the real thing.
String of Synthetic Marijuana Overdoses in New Haven Connecticut, 7 Take Place in One Day
New Haven, Connecticut officials are warning people about synthetic marijuana dangers after a string of overdoses that took place last week.
New Haven police say that there have been more than a dozen overdoses related to synthetic marijuana in the last week, 7 of which occurred in one day. It isn’t apparent if any of the overdoses were fatal.
The outcry from Connecticut police officers echoes warnings made last week by the US Army. In the past month US Army officials reported that 2 Marines have died from synthetic marijuana and 60 more servicemen have been hospitalized.
New Haven issued a similar public health warning last month after four people overdosed in a one-hour period. They said overdoses were directly related to “K2.” Of these four January overdoses, one was fatal, one was in an induced coma, and two suffered cardiac arrest but survived.
Synthetic Weed Overdoses on the Rise
Between January and May 2015, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 229 percent increase in calls to US poison centers due to Spice or K2. It’s now 3 years later, and things have only gotten worse.
Despite the dangers that synthetic cannabis poses, Spice and K2 remain legal. It’s widely marketed as “legal” or “natural” high…one that is safe to smoke and won’t show up on a drug test.
According to addiction specialist Jason M. Jerry MD, the manufacturers of K2 take some kind of plant leaf and spray it with chemicals.
Jerry, who works for the Alcohol Drug and Recovery Center in Cleveland, Ohio says, “It’s often marketed as incense and packages are typically labeled ‘not for human consumption’ to avoid law enforcement, which is how they fly under the radar of the FDA.”
Sarah Wakeman, medical director for substance use disorders at the Massachusetts Center for Community Health says it’s hard for the federal government to regulate synthetic marijuana because companies keep changing the formula to avoid using illegal substances.
How Many Overdoses Will It Take to Make Synthetic Cannabis a Crime?
“K2 is unpredictable,” Wakeman says, “because we often don’t know what the compound is. It’s just a bunch of chemicals that are sprayed on some dried plant leaf.”
How many overdoses will it have to take for the feds to take notice that these “synthetic substances” are killing people?
As marijuana remains illegal, people are using synthetic cannabinoids instead. After all, they’re cheap, readily available, and won’t show up on a drug test.
Live in an area where weed is illegal and hard to get, and people will choose what they believe is the next best thing. Unfortunately, what many assume is a harmless substitute comes with some very serious side effects…overdose and death included.