The Synthetic Marijuana Outbreak
Across Illinois, a new of synthetic marijuana outbreak has taken to the streets. It isn’t illegal. The producers make sure to only use ingredients that are permitted by the law. The police can’t arrest you for using it, and it won’t show up on a drug test. So, where’s the downside?
Synthetic marijuana, also known as “Spice” and “K2,” is plant material that has been coated in chemicals to simulate the effects of THC. However, due to lack of regulations, synthetic marijuana can contain nearly any chemical, be it safe for human consumption or not.
Over 170 people have gone to the hospital for excessive bleeding as a result of the synthetic marijuana outbreak. This is due to brodifacoum, an anti-coagulant that is commonly used in rat poison, in a batch that is currently being distributed. This latest outbreak of synthetic marijuana has caused people to find blood in their urine and feces, cough blood, and bleed from their ears and eyes. While only three have died in connection to these effects, others have required extensive treatment in emergency rooms to be stabilized.
There have been 164 hospitalizations across 15 counties in Illinois.
Two people have been hospitalized in Indiana.
There has been one hospitalization in Missouri, though the state is preparing for more.
One hospitalization was reported in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
One hospitalization believed to be connected in Maryland.
This strain of K2 has spread as far south as North Carolina, where two have been hospitalized.
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Why is Synthetic Marijuana Legal?
Synthetic marijuana is popular for many who are looking for the effects of marijuana but on a much stronger level. The levels of THC in synthetic marijuana can be anywhere from two to 100 times more potent than the amount in regular marijuana. However, this level of THC, the psychoactive agent in cannabis, isn’t real and is incredibly harmful to the human brain.
Every package of Spice found in a convenience store will be marked as “not for human consumption.” This is because, despite the ingredients being legal, they are deemed hazardous to the human body. Manufacturers know this, but they choose to use these ingredients regardless.
While the government has banned some dangerous synthetic marijuana strains, all the producers had to do was to tweak their formulas before going back on the market. Much like the world of designer drugs, synthetic marijuana manufacturers can stay ahead of the law by using different formulas.
NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION
The CDC reports that there are currently over 150 different strains of synthetic marijuana on the market. On top of that, there aren’t any standards, guidelines, or requirements in the synthetic marijuana world that companies need to follow. As long as the chemicals used aren’t banned and they keep the disclaimer, they are able to sell their product.
Addiction to Synthetic Marijuana
If you believe that you or someone you know may be addicted to synthetic marijuana, it is important to address immediately. Some variants of synthetic marijuana can be more lethal than heroin, and all are labeled as “not for human consumption” for a reason. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to a dedicated treatment provider. They can help you figure out the next steps towards recovery.