Marijuana sent 11,000 to Emergency

Synthetic Marijuana Sent 11,000 People to Emergency Rooms in 2010

More than 11,000 people ended up in emergency rooms after using synthetic marijuana in 2010, according to a new government report. Most were teenagers and young adults, USA Today reports.

Synthetic marijuana, commonly known as K2 or Spice, is a mixture of herbs, spices or shredded plant material that is typically sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. K2 is typically sold in small, silvery plastic bags of dried leaves and marketed as incense that can be smoked. It is said to resemble potpourri.

Short term effects include loss of control, lack of pain response, increased agitation, pale skin, seizures, vomiting, profuse sweating, uncontrolled spastic body movements, elevated blood pressure, heart rate and palpitations. In addition to physical signs of use, users may experience severe paranoia, delusions, hallucinations and increased agitation.

The new report, from the federal government’s Drug Abuse Warning Network, is the first to analyze the impact of synthetic marijuana, the newspaper notes. The report found 12-to-17-year-olds accounted for one-third of the emergency room visits, while young adults ages 18 to 24 accounted for an additional 35 percent.

Among patients ages 12 to 29, the report found 59 percent of those who paid visits to the emergency room for synthetic marijuana use had no evidence of other substances.

In 2010, ordinary marijuana sent 461,028 people to the emergency room.

In July, President Obama signed legislation that bans synthetic drugs. The law bans harmful chemicals in synthetic drugs such as those used to make synthetic marijuana and bath salts.

From Join Together online

Synthetic Drugs Outlawed

Obama Signs Legislation Banning Synthetic Drugs

President Obama on Monday signed legislation that bans synthetic drugs. The law also expedites the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of new drugs and medical devices.

The law bans harmful chemicals in synthetic drugs such as those used to make synthetic marijuana and “bath salts,” according to the Star Tribune. While more than 30 states have banned various compounds in synthetic drugs, new ones are continually being created, the newspaper notes.

“In Minnesota and across the country, we are seeing more and more tragedies where synthetic drugs are taking lives and tearing apart families,” Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said in a statement. “Today’s action means that this critical legislation to give law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on synthetic drugs is finally the law of the land.” Senator Klobuchar co-sponsored bills banning synthetic drugs, which were included in an amendment to the FDA’s Safety and Innovation Act.

Synthetic drugs are readily available online. The law outlaws sales of synthetic drugs by both retail stores and online retailers.

In December, the National Institute on Drug Abuse released new information indicating that one in nine high school seniors had used “Spice” or “K2” over the past year, making synthetic marijuana the second most frequently used illicit drug, after marijuana, among high school seniors. Poison control centers operating across the nation have also reported sharp increases in the number of calls relating to synthetic drugs.

By Join Together Staff