Synthetic marijuana is made up of dry leaves or herbs, which are then impregnated with synthetic cannabinoids. In theory, synthetic marijuana should produce the same high as real marijuana by working on the same receptors in the brain. However, synthetic marijuana tends to produce different effects—anger, aggression, seizures, heart attacks, and hallucinations.
There are currently around 400 varieties of synthetic marijuana. The cannabinoids are usually in powder form, which the manufacturer mixes with water to spray on leaves and herbs. And this deadly drug is killing people left and right in Florida.
A Huge Problem
An eye-opening report in the Miami Herald this August highlighted the prevalence of synthetic marijuana in Florida’s prisons. The total number of deaths in the state’s prisons exceeded 500 for the year, a number that would be unimaginable only a few years before. Most deaths are caused by drug overdoses, with the top killer being synthetic marijuana, also called Spice or K2.
One reason synthetic marijuana is so popular in prisons is that it is not detected by current urine tests. This means that inmates who use it will avoid any discipline that they might suffer if they smoked real marijuana. Prison officials also explain that the unstructured nature of prison leaves prisoners bored and turning to drug use to fill up the day.
But synthetic marijuana is a definite problem even outside jails. For example, in mid-August, over 70 people in New Haven Connecticut overdosed on synthetic marijuana in a downtown park near Yale University. No one died, though six people were near death.
No Cure in Sight
Synthetic marijuana is incredibly addictive, and the withdrawal symptoms for an addict are often worse than the high itself. According to the government, about 70% of inmates in prison have a substance abuse problem, but there are insufficient funds to offer treatment. In fact, the treatment programs have been slashed in Florida to help offset the state’s budget deficits, and prisoners generally garner no sympathy from the public.
Currently, the federal government and states have tried to fight synthetic marijuana by banning many of the synthetic cannabinoids. New York City, for example, has recently passed laws targeting cannabinoids.
Unfortunately, the target market for K2 is usually young people, who have been raised to believe that marijuana is harmless. Many people do not understand the unique dangers of the synthetic version and will use it because it is a cheap and available substitute.
Dealing with Addiction
If you or a loved one has used synthetic marijuana, then it is vital that you receive proper treatment. About 10% of the population will become addicted to synthetic marijuana, and the first step is to identify that you have a problem and detoxify.
Young people who use the drug will have their mental development impaired, so concerned family members should not try to detoxify their children on their own. Instead, seek out a drug treatment facility for help and information.
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Moses & Rooth is one of the leading criminal defense law firms in Florida. We handle a variety of state and federal crimes, including drug crimes. If you have a legal question, please contact us today. One of our Orlando criminal defense attorneys can meet with you to discuss your issue. Please call 407-377-0150 for more information.