Beware of synthetic cannabinoids (often called “synthetic marijuana”), warns a CDC report. Poison control centers in the U.S. received 3,572 telephone calls in the first five months of 2015 related to the use of synthetic cannabinoids, up from 1,085 for the same period in 2014.
These designer drugs typically consist of herbs or other plant materials sprayed with various lab-made chemicals, which, when smoked or ingested, induce a “high” similar to that of the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana. The products are sold legally as herbal products under such names as Spice, Black Mamba, and K2, and they can be even more potent than marijuana.
Adverse reactions include agitation, tachycardia (fast heartbeat), vomiting, and confusion, with 11 percent of them considered severe and even deadly. Another government report cited 28,500 emergency room visits related to synthetic cannabinoids in 2011. Manufacturers stay one step ahead of the law by continually reformulating their products to contain psychoactive substances that have not yet been banned.
See also: Marijuana: Hazy Health Risks.