More information is available now about Synthetic Marijuana, after four years of its presence in the drug marketplace. A recent University of Michigan survey of approximately 40,000 teenagers concluded that Synthetic Marijuana, also called K2 or Spice, is losing popularity among teens in America. This synthetic drug had quickly spread when it first appeared in America, partly because it isn’t detected through drug testing.
Synthetic Marijuana is made by spraying an array of chemicals onto dried plants and then packaging it to look like marijuana. In 2011, federal drug enforcement authorities banned most of the chemicals that were being used to manufacture K2, but those who were making the drug quickly replaced the banned chemicals with other chemicals.
When K2 first hit the streets, users thought it might be safe. Then reports started circulating about spikes in emergency room cases involving patients who had used Synthetic Marijuana. It not only caused serious health complications, but some people were dying from the drug. During one particular month in Colorado, more than 200 people became sick enough to seek medical care after using K2. Nationwide, in 2010, approximately 11,400 people were treated at emergency rooms for K2-related issues.
The most common K2 health effects are seizures, spikes in blood pressure, hallucinations, rapid heartbeat, nausea and vomiting.
The National Institute of Health reported a three percent drop in K2’s popularity between 2012 and 2013. In 2012, 11 percent of those surveyed reported using the synthetic drug at least once. That number dropped to 8 percent by 2013. It is thought that the reduction in the drug’s popularity stems from users becoming more aware of the critical health dangers.
The study also concluded that while synthetic marijuana use is going down, use of actual marijuana is holding steady with approximately 60 percent of participants having used it in the past year.