Synthetic Marijuana also known by the name “Spice”, “Scooby Snax”, and “K2” first became available in the U.S. in 2008. Spice, Scooby Snax or K2 became popular with high school and college students because it was legally sold in convenience stores, smoke shops and on-line in slickly marketed packets. This summer there was a surge of overdoses and deaths from using synthetic marijuana tripled on the streets in major U.S. cities. Synthetic marijuana is a designer drug made in a lab with a variety of liquid chemicals that mimic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive substance found in naturally grown marijuana (cannabis).
Most marijuana comes from factories in China and is imported into the U.S. for sale. Unlike naturally grown marijuana, these laboratory-made chemicals sold for consumption are more potent than naturally grown marijuana (THC) and may have more dangerous side-effects. Synthetic marijuana is inhaled (smoked) like a joint or ingested. Serious toxicities have landed users in the ER (emergency rooms) with rapid heart beat, high blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, agitation, confusion, seizures and even suicidal or violent reactions. Long-term effects on one’s reproductive health, memory, risk of developing cancer or addiction are unknown. In 2012, President Barack Obama signed into law the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act which increases penalties for sale and use of this synthetic drug. For more information on Synthetic Marijuana, go to www.cdc.gov or tovacares.blogspot.com.