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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The dangers of synthethic marijuana #HNNHealth

The Associated Press: Synthetic marijuana – pictured in these packets – can cause chest pain, vomiting, high blood pressure, tremor, seizures, hallucinations and paranoia.
Credits AP
During March of this year, without warning, many young men came to the hospital acting extremely violent and confused. While many patients had positive drug tests, the degree of violence and confusion was much higher than what my colleagues and I would have anticipated. After our patients had been sedated for a few days, the stories we heard about what led them to the hospital had a similar thread: They all used synthetic marijuana, which, although similar in name, is different from the marijuana you're probably familiar with.

Montefiore was not the only hospital that saw a spike in patients suffering from the harmful effects of synthetic marijuana. In April, synthetic pot sent 160 people to hospitals in the state of New York in a little over a week. Alabama public health officials shared that nearly 100 people had been hospitalized for problems linked to synthetic marijuana between March and April, while police in Virginia reported that someone died from a synthetic marijuana overdose in April.

Synthetic marijuana often goes by street names such as "K2," "Spice" and "Green Giant," and it can be bought at certain bodegas for as little as $5. Unlike heroin and cocaine, it's not made using just one chemical. Synthetic marijuana can be made with nearly 100 different chemicals that are often sprayed onto dried, shredded plant material. While different chemicals are used, the compounds have similar traits:

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