Many think of marijuana and assume it is a relatively benign drug. After all, many states are moving to legalize its use and distribution.
That benign view may now be changing with the arrival of dangerous synthetic versions.
Physicians in different parts of the U.S. are now receiving patients in emergency rooms with mysterious, disturbing symptoms.
Some are vomiting blood or bleeding from their gums and noses. Others have hands, arms and legs that are spotted purple and covered with unexplained bruises. Many are young and previously healthy.
Three have now died.
Health authorities believe these patients inhaled synthetic marijuana, otherwise known as Spice or K2, laced with a pesticide called brodifacoum, one that is used as rat poison and causes severe bleeding and other alarming symptoms.
Synthetic marijuana is often circulated in shiny foil packets with names like Insane, Crazy Monkey, and Blue Giant.
Public health officials openly admit they don’t know where the drug is coming from or how widely it’s spreading. And they’re also perplexed about how a dangerous substance like brodifacoum is getting into the pot in the first place. It’s not a chemical capable of enhancing a drug high.
Why would anyone use a synthetic version of pot?
First – it’s sold on the cheap. And it’s increasingly available on the black market.
What’s more, those required to undergo routine drug testing use synthetic marijuana to get high because its components are often difficult to detect on tests.
What exactly is synthetic marijuana?
Experts say it is a veritable mishmash of many different chemicals with risks that are only now starting to be understood.
Perhaps worst of all – many of the dangerous symptoms the drug produces often do not turn up until days after it’s ingested.
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