Twenty-five people have been recently hospitalized in Brooklyn after having negative reactions from what’s believed to be synthetic marijuana known as K2, according to Lt. Paul Ng with the New York Police Department.
One month prior, synthetic marijuana, also known as “Spice” or “K2” was linked to 153 people falling ill and the deaths of four people across Illinois. The synthetic cannabinoids were found to contain rat poison and most of the hospitalizations were related to unexplained bleeding, such as coughing up blood, blood in the urine, bloody nose and bleeding gums.
In 2017, 102 people in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, overdosed on synthetic marijuana within three days.
Dangers of Spice Use
Spice is known as “fake weed” or synthetic marijuana. This title is misleading as it is far more dangerous than marijuana. The effects of synthetic cannabinoids can be unpredictable and severe, or even life-threatening. Spice can bring a user into a psychosis which, in some cases, can be a permanent change in their personality and thinking. National Institue of Drug abuse reports that Spice can be 100x-200x stronger than marijuana, which is why it can bring people into a psychotic episode.
Synthetic cannabinoids can cause other serious problems including:
• rapid heart rate
• violent behavior
• suicidal thoughts
Contrary to popular belief, Spice use can be addictive. From my experience as an addictions counselor, I’ve witnessed many patients in a long term psychosis due to their spice use. Many people in active addiction unfortunately turn to spice due to the cheap price, and it being undetected on drug tests. It’s also widely accessible, many of my past patients have reported spice being offered to them in public parks and at public bus stops. Until recently, Spice was associated with the poor and the young. In 2011, it was the second-most used drug behind marijuana among students in the 8th, 10th and 12th grades, according to the national Monitoring the Future survey.
Please warn anyone who might be at increased risk of using these drugs, and seek treatment if drug abuse is having severe life consequences. At Transformations by the Gulf, we offer residential and outpatient services that can help a drug abuser get off Spice or other drugs. Please call 727-498-6498 for more assistance.
NIDA. (2018, February 5). Synthetic Cannabinoids (K2/Spice). Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/synthetic-cannabinoids-k2spice on 2018, May 22
Vena, Amir (2018, May 20). 25 people hospitalized in New York from what police suspect was synthetic marijuana. CNN. Retrieved from: https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/20/health/fake-weed-new-york-hospital/index.html