No one has died from overdosing on marijuana, but people have died from smoking legal synthetic marijuana which is also known as “Spice.” In March 2012, 16-year-old Chase Burnett died in his parent’s hot tub after smoking synthetic marijuana. His death was caused by the chemicals that were sprayed on the leaves. The chemicals shut his lungs down and he suffered a violent death.
The federal government is so concerned about legal marijuana that they have forgotten about a much more dangerous substance, synthetic marijuana. In 2010, more than 11,000 people were admitted to the emergency room because of synthetic marijuana.
Synthetic marijuana is nothing like marijuana. It is legal and easily accessible to kids. Synthetic marijuana can purchased at a gas station, a convenience store, or a head shop. It is also up to 100 times more potent than marijuana.
New York issues health alert
On Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that in 9 days, more than 160 patients were rushed to various hospitals across the state because they suffered adverse reactions to synthetic cannabinoids. New York state authorities issued a health alert following the spike in synthetic marijuana-related emergencies.
The New York State Department of Health said that the patients suffered symptoms which ranged from confusion, drowsiness, headaches, increased heart rate, seizures, and loss of consciousness
Acting New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “Since the exact compounds contained in synthetic cannabinoid products change so frequently, it’s often impossible for users to know exactly what they are putting in their body.”
Not an isolated incident
No one knows how dangerous these drugs are. At least 41 states have tried to ban synthetic marijuana and other synthetic drugs.
Last week, the Alabama Department of Public Health said there had been 98 overdoses suspected to be linked with synthetic marijuana in the previous month. In 2015, Mobile County has seen more incidences that they did in all of 2014. They have been 7 cases during 2015 so far.
In April, 97 overdoses occurred during an 8 day span in Mississippi. These numbers were reported by the Mississippi Poison Control Center. Mississippi health officials are concerned that synthetic marijuana is on the rise.
In the fall of 2013, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported that 263 people visited area emergency rooms due to synthetic marijuana use. Approximately 10% were admitted to the intensive care unit and required a ventilator to help them breathe.
Marijuana is not the problem
In 2012, Georgia passed “Chase’s Law,” to fight the sale of synthetic marijuana in Georgia. Unfortunately, that law has been ineffective as the manufacture, distribution, and sale of synthetic marijuana has gone on almost uninterrupted.
Although the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has taken steps to ban some of the chemicals found in synthetic marijuana, variations of the chemicals have multiplied, and increased in use over the past few years.