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article imageNY sees spike in number of hospitalizations due to synthetic pot

By Karen Graham     Apr 18, 2015 in Health
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that synthetic marijuana has sent 160 people to hospitals in the state since April 8, a spike that has health authorities warning the public that the substances are dangerous, and also illegal.
The sudden upswing in the number of people seeking medical help because of smoking synthetic marijuana attests to the unpredictability of this designer drug. The average number of visits to an emergency room, earlier this year was two to three visits per day, city-wide.
On the street, the synthetic marijuana is known as "spice," "K2," and "Green Giant," to name a few. Basically, it is any drug that mimics the effect of cannabis and is usually sprayed onto some kind of herbal base material. The thing most users don't know is just how very dangerous this drug can be.
In the early 2000s, when synthetic marijuana first started making an appearance, it was thought that a "natural high" was being produced using a blend of natural herbs. By 2008, examination of the products found that the herbal blend actually contained synthetic cannabinoids, very similar to the cannabinoids found in cannabis, such as THC.
Today, the most used active ingredient found in synthetic marijuana is cannabicyclohexanol, JWH-018, JWH-073, or HU-210. Cannabicyclohexanol, developed by Pfizer in 1979 is actually far more potent than HU-210, normally used in synthetic marijuana. HU-210 was developed in 1988 and is almost 800 times more potent than the THC in cannabis.
In his statement on Friday, Cuomo said statewide, calls to poison control centers have risen dramatically in the past 10 days. "Synthetic drugs are anything but harmless, and this rash of severe health emergencies across the state is direct proof."
Sadly, New York is not alone in seeing a rise in hospitalizations and deaths attributed to synthetic marijuana this past week. In Alabama, health officials say over 100 people have been hospitalized because of synthetic marijuana in the past month.
In Hampton, Virginia, one person died and two others were hospitalized last weekend because of synthetic marijuana overdoses. And last month, 40 state governors signed a letter to petroleum companies asking that they ban the sale of synthetic marijuana in their company gas stations.
More about synthetic marijuana, gov cuomo, Spice, synthetic drugs, Thc
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