Almost 120 People in Texas Overdose on Synthetic Marijuana

Police are investigating an outbreak of cases of people overdosing on synthetic marijuana in Dallas and Austin, according to WFAA ABC News.

More about the Synthetic Marijuana Overdoses

Over a span of five days, nearly 120 people have been treated in Dallas and Austin for overdoses of a synthetic marijuana called K2. Although the effects of K2 are supposed to mimic that of marijuana, possible side-effects of the drug can be wide-ranging and are not fully understood. Patients treated for overdoses were described as “so sick they had to be sedated.”

Police have confirmed that the cases in Austin and Dallas are connected and believe the drug originated with the same Dallas supplier. Regulation of K2 and other synthetic marijuana blends, often referred to as “spice,” is difficult because manufacturers constantly change the ingredients to stay one step ahead of regulation. In Texas, individual compounds have been banned, but there is no current law which regulates synthetic marijuana outright.

Facts about Synthetic Marijuana

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the term “spice” or synthetic marijuana refers to “a wide variety of herbal mixtures that produce experiences similar to marijuana (cannabis).” Other names for spice include K2, fake weed, Yucatan Fire, Skunk, Moon Rocks and others. Furthermore:

  • Although synthetic marijuana is labeled “not for human consumption” and sold as “incense,” users primarily smoke the product or infuse it for drinking.
  • Spice products often claim to be “natural,” but chemical analysis show that in addition to dried plant material, the product contains synthetic cannabinoid compounds as their active ingredient.
  • One study estimates that 11.3% of high school seniors have used synthetic marijuana within the past year. These products are popular among teens because of their ease of access and because they are less likely to show up on a standard drug test.
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