Synthetic Marijuana ‘Spice’ Causing “Negative Buzz”
July 10, 2010
(ChattahBox) – While Californians have an upcoming ballot initiative to legalize marijuana, and thus drop prices of weed, by as much as 80 percent, a synthetic knock-off is making waves across state legislatures. The man-made legal version is called “spice,” packaged as an herbal incense, it’s becoming increasingly popular, not the least because it’s a legal marijuana-like high that doesn’t show up on drug tests. Its ingredients are not well known, and do vary, but it’s generally made by spraying crushed green leaves with synthetic cannabinoids, including JWH-018, which mimics the effects of cannabis in the human brain. Counterfeits of the synthetic marijuana have been showing up, because of the allure and legality of the product, which might explain why in 2009 there were 41 cases of people calling poison control centers with a bad reaction to the drug. That number has mushroomed to 567 in the first half of 2010. “We’re getting extreme anxiety in many patients, agitation, heightened heart rate and blood pressure,” Anthony Scalzo, medical director of the Missouri Poison Center tells the Washington Post. “I’ve done emergency medicine for 28 years and toxicology for 22, and I don’t see that kind of effect generally from a patient who comes in having taken marijuana.” Several states have banned the substance, including Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia, and others are working on doing the same.