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ER Visits for Synthetic Marijuana on the Rise

September 15, 2010

An herb-and-chemical compound sold legally as incense in the United States – with the exception of ten states, including New York, according to the National Conference of Legislators – is sending many who smoke it to the hospital, according to a July 29, 2010 report by news agency Reuters.

The compound, known as K2, interacts with brain receptors in a way that is said to be very similar to marijuana. But unlike marijuana, little is known about the chemical makeup of the compound.

Officials said more and more people who smoke “synthetic marijuana” have reported to emergency rooms and poison-control centers with symptoms ranging from anxiety, hypertension, and vomiting to severe paranoia and hallucinations.

U.S. poison-control centers received 13 calls related to K2 a year ago, while 766 cases have been reported in the first half of 2010, said Anthony Scaizo, medical director for the Missouri Poison Center.

The concern, according to Scaizo, is that the surge “may represent the tip of an iceberg.”

Trinity of Chemung County wants to know if you feel enough is being done to warn kids against the dangers of this product, and what you would do if someone you knew were using synthetic marijuana.

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