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What’s Weaponized Marijana? Is It a Gateway Drug?

From April 1 to July 31 of this year, over 1,900 people were hospitalized due to weaponized marijuana. That is according to a Reuters article published by Yahoo News. This synthetic marijuana is called “weaponized” by the police because of its ability to kill. It is low-cost and spreading fast.

What is weaponized marijuana?

The name applies to the many synthetic marijuana concoctions sold in tobacco shops, bodegas, and on the internet. Advertised as “herbal incense” under names like K2 or Spice, it is actually made up of dangerous chemicals that typically come from China and are sprayed on tea leaves. Sold in baggies from 1.5 to 3 grams for as little as $2, the weaponized marijuana is particularly devastating to homeless people looking for a low-cost high. Without proper medical attention, they die. Over 1,000 deaths have been attributed to these synthetic drugs since 2009. In the first nine months of 2015, 6,000 calls were made to poison control centers in the U.S. related to synthetic cannabinoids.

These designer drugs first appeared in the early 2000s and contain an ever expanding list of complex synthetic cannabinoids. Weaponized marijuana can be up to 100 times more potent than traditional marijuana. The effects are also far more devastating.

Weaponized marijuana effects

While many victims are often low-income people or homeless, this weapon can strike people of any age and income level. Smoking weaponized marijuana can result in sever hypertension, immediate cardiac arrest, hallucinations, seizures, and acute psychosis. Because these engineered cannabinoids fully activate the cannabinoid receptors of the brain, the effects are more severe than THC from marijuana plants.

Even limited use can lead to long-term psychosis and use of harder drugs. Individuals at risk for psychotic disorders or with a history of emotional problems are more vulnerable. Help is available from the team of specialists at our South Florida rehab center. Visit Transitions to learn more about our individualized treatment.