March 19th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Synthetic marijuana just as dangerous

It may not be marijuana, but its effects are just as potent. A new report in this week's edition of the journal Pediatrics finds more emergency rooms across the United States are seeing an increase in patients who have used synthetic marijuana.

Known as K2, Spice, Mr. Smiley and Blaze, the product can have similar but sometimes more serious consequences than marijuana?  These synthetic cannabinoids are a blend of plant and herbal materials that have been sprayed with chemicals, which produce a certain toxicity.

Sold in such places at gas stations, connivence stores and on the internet, the synthetic marijuana produce euphoric and psychoactive effects similar to those associated with marijuana. But doctors say there are additional side effects that may be particularly dangerous. The drug can leave patients catatonic and listless. And what makes matters worse, very little is known about Synthetic marijuana or how to treat an adverse reaction or overdose.

"When we suspected the use of synthetic marijuana in these patients, we soon realized that there is little information about this drug in the medical literature," said Dr. Joanna Cohen, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C. and the lead author of the paper. "Because it is a relatively new drug," Cohen notes, "we should be aware of the symptoms and make a concerted effort to share our experiences in treating patients so we can develop best practices."

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 4,500 calls involving synthetic cannabinoid toxicity from 2010 to 2011. The drug is difficult to detect, because it does not show up on routine drugs tests. Further lab work is needed to find if a person is using it. The study authors recommend lab studies that include a comprehensive screening (electrolytes, urine test, blood alcohol level) since many drugs are often used together.

Because little research has been done on these products, pediatricians are concerned about the drugs' effects on the teenage brain. Experts predict the synthetic drug may go so far as to effect memory loss and psychosis, if it's used over a long period of time

If you're a parent and suspect your child may be using synthetic marijuana, look for these signs: Excessive sweating, agitation, inability to speak, aggression and restlessness. If a teen is showing these symptoms, doctors recommend you seek medical attention for your child immediately.

soundoff (298 Responses)
  1. Will D

    By "just as dangerous as marijuana" you mean that it sends people to the ER and actual marijuana doesn't right? And you mean kids are taking this because actual physically harmless marijuana (which has many health effects for treating anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc) because this is still illegal?

    It's going to stay illegal and kids are therefore going to keep hurting themselves with alternatives for as long as you publish misleading information.

    If you're having to be deceptive to affect public perception about something, maybe that says something about the position you're taking.

    Please don't write another article about kids going to the ER on synthetic marijuana and say it's "just as dangerous".

    March 19, 2012 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill Davis

      Yeah. It also states that the "consequences" can be as severe of worse than marijuana. What are the consequences of marijuana aside from eating all fo the chips and giggling at Tosh.O? This is poorly written. Poorly thought out.

      March 19, 2012 at 10:34 | Report abuse |
    • Nikki

      The problem with synthetics is that the majority of the population that uses the substance know very little about use and dosing. I have been using synthetics for years with no adverse side effects. Synthetics are much more potent than what nature provides us, leading to the possibility of over dosage.

      March 19, 2012 at 11:34 | Report abuse |
    • C Weaver

      More propaganda.. Will D, you're dead on!

      March 19, 2012 at 13:00 | Report abuse |
    • karen

      It is really sad that people talk about things they don't know about. None of those products are synthetic marijuana.
      Over the past 40 years many things have been label as such. None have ever been proven to be SM. Chemists at drug companies have been the only source of synthetic marijuana, I am sure of the exact spelling but it is called Marinol

      March 19, 2012 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      LEGALIZE and TAX NOW !!


      March 19, 2012 at 13:18 | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      I agree with you totally. If they legalized the real thing, this would not be happening. I have smoked pot for 45 years. I have a good well paid job, have never been in rehab or arrested for anything, and other than car payments have no debt! I guess none of that Refer Madness propaganda never came true.

      They say it's a gateway drug., that's just more propaganda and lies. Booze is far more likely to be a gateway drug because it lowers your inhibitions.

      March 19, 2012 at 14:14 | Report abuse |
    • @youignantdotcom

      "Chemists at drug companies have been the only source of synthetic marijuana, I am sure of the exact spelling but it is called Marinol"

      Ummm...marinol is synthetic THC, not synthetic Marijuana...please research prior to posting.

      March 19, 2012 at 14:43 | Report abuse |
    • Slewatha

      Haha, thats the first thing I noticed to. Reefer madness anyone?

      March 19, 2012 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
    • Nancy H.

      Gupta is an idiot like Dr. Drew – both hypocrites and have their pockets lined with Alcohol, Tobacco and Big Pharma money... F@@K YOU CNN and stop printing your lies.

      March 19, 2012 at 17:32 | Report abuse |
    • sam

      excellent points. I'm 71 and have been smoking marijuana for 53 years without ever experiencing a need to go to an emergency room. The alcohol and law enforcement lobbies have kept pot illegal for all these years for their own financial reasons.

      March 19, 2012 at 18:28 | Report abuse |
  2. Buzzby

    To say that untested synthetic cannabinoids are "just as dangerous" as marijuana is disingenuous in the extreme. Herbal marijuana is the most benign psychoactive substance known to man. The continued illegality of marijuana drives people to use much more dangerous drugs that are easier to obtain and carry the cloak of legality. Alcohol is far more dangerous than marijuana, as are tobacco, volatile organic compounds, and the array of pharmaceuticals that are currently so popular with young drug users. Legalize herbal marijuana and most of these problems would quickly disappear.

    March 19, 2012 at 01:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • us1776

      This article was written by someone who is horribly misinformed about natural marijuana.

      Marijuana is the safest recreational intoxicant known to man. There's never been a single death attributed to marijuana.


      March 19, 2012 at 13:20 | Report abuse |
    • jay

      pretty much ALL of these articles are ridiculous.. im surprised theyre not still talking about how the "crazy devil weed makes you jump out of windows and dance with black folk"... such ignorance and hypocrisy..

      March 19, 2012 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
    • DMEM

      Safest in-TOX-icant? Now that's a paradox.

      I know several people who went on to develop schizophrenia after a couple of years of pot use. These people all reported that smoking pot always caused quite a bit of anxiety every time they used. Pot doesn't have the same effect on everyone but it certainly seems like some people are very sensitive to it in a bad way. Schizophrenia is irreversible and a living hell. I certainly wouldn't want to risk that. No buzz is worth that.

      March 19, 2012 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      DMEM: Then don't do it.

      March 19, 2012 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
    • @youignantdotcom

      "know several people who went on to develop schizophrenia after a couple of years of pot use. These people all reported that smoking pot always caused quite a bit of anxiety every time they used. Pot doesn't have the same effect on everyone but it certainly seems like some people are very sensitive to it in a bad way. Schizophrenia is irreversible and a living hell. I certainly wouldn't want to risk that. No buzz is worth that."

      Please research schizophrenia and marijuana. Marijuana does not cause schizophrenia, only causes people who are predisposed to the condition to either worsen their condition or bring the condition on earlier in life.

      March 19, 2012 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
  3. To The Maximus Foundation

    Synthetic Marijuana is an extremely dangerous drug. I volunteer for To The Maximus Foundation, an organization that educates the public about the dangers of synthetic marijuana. The founder of our organization, Karen Dobner, lost her son to synthetic marijuana, and many of the parents in the organization have lost their children.

    If you want more information about this drug, please see our blog on WordPress (http://tothemaximus.wordpress.com), find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @fakeweed. Together we can find a way to stop the sales of synthetic marijuana in our neighborhoods.

    March 19, 2012 at 05:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tacc2

      Why don't you try to get cannabis into a legal and regulated market? The market for the fake stuff would evaporate overnight.

      March 19, 2012 at 10:10 | Report abuse |
    • To The Maximus Foundation

      I'm not sure it would disappear. Synthetic marijuana is extremely addictive and many times (sometimes hundreds of times) more potent than marijuana. In addition, we have heard stories of regular marijuana having been sprayed with synthetic marijuana to make it more addictive and potent.

      March 19, 2012 at 19:16 | Report abuse |
  4. ron bray

    so the smoking of marijuana sends its users to the ER ? no byline (that would be the author of the article), sensational headline, misleading statements. CNN, I thought you were a NEWs organization. The editor of this area needs improvement.
    CNN the quality of your reporting continues to decline.

    March 19, 2012 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • J.Crobuzon

      Really, that's crap. You are saying it is no more dangerous than pot, when in reality it's nothing like pot and causes a lot of deaths and trauma. Someone sent you a press release and you ran it without looking, CNN. Fire someone, please.

      March 19, 2012 at 11:16 | Report abuse |
  5. Billy

    Oh geez the pothead losers are all upset because somebody had to say bad things about their wonder drug. Their crutch to let them hobble through life stoned because they can't hack what life sends them sober. LOSERS

    March 19, 2012 at 08:08 | Report abuse | Reply

      Yeah and I bet you are a drinker or a smoker Billy. Anyone who sits on their throne and says bad things about marijuanna normally are the ones sitting at home blacking out drinking alcohol or smokes 2-3 packs a day. Remember it says on our dollar bill "In God we Trust." So trust marijuanna as it is not a bad drug. If the government says it's bad then by George it must be bad. Marijuanna is not a crutch. It is a help to many people around the world and has been for CENTURIES. Just because old Billy boy in the 21st century calls people who use it losers then he in retrospect is calling everyone who has used it losers. Read your Bible too. It states they would light "incense" and see visions. You sure don't get that buring frankincense

      March 19, 2012 at 08:25 | Report abuse |
    • monah

      Billy, The article was very misleading and your generalization that all weed smokers are losers couldn't be further from the truth. I smoked weed in high school and occasionally as an adult. While it has been years since I last smoked I know younger and older adults who continue to smoke weed. Being from the Baby Boom Generation I have seen a lot of drug use and I can tell you that I have never known anyone who ended up in the ER from smoking weed.

      March 19, 2012 at 08:25 | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Billy, just because you're too close minded to look objectively and weigh Marijuana's pros against its cons doesn't mean the rest of us have to be that way. We're still waiting for the first medically recognized death due to Marijuana Overdose... in the mean time I'll just go down to the gas station and buy a 40 of malt liquor and a carton of smokes... we all know how medically beneficial those products are! (But they produce plenty of tax revenue....)

      March 19, 2012 at 08:45 | Report abuse |
    • doc

      Way to go Billy. Sorry to the rest of you that he isn't politically correct, but he's right, nonetheless. Whiners and slackards are the pot users; those who use it recreationally do so at a cost to productiveness, and admit it. IT IS A DRUG, and IT MAKES YOU HIGH. As fun as that might be, making a case that this is pure and good is sillly.

      March 19, 2012 at 09:02 | Report abuse |
    • yikes

      I don't smoke pot, never have, and I don't want my children to either. But I have to say this – the way you talk about pot you sound like a moron. I would have to agree with the other comments – are you drunk?

      March 19, 2012 at 09:43 | Report abuse |
    • tacc2

      "Hobbling through life stoned", as you put it is just about the only thing that keeps me from killing people like you on a daily basis. People like YOU have created an insane society where the use of plants is criminalized. Because of people like YOU, families are torn apart by the authorities simply because someone uses a plant. People like YOU cause thousands of deaths in Mexico because YOU refuse to recognize our god given right as human beings to use these plants. People like YOU have filled our prisons beyond capacity with non-violent people who's lives are now ruined forever because YOU'RE afraid...of plants. These plants are sacred gifts to ALL of humanity. You have no right to prohibit them and we will not follow your unnatural mandates.

      As for us being losers...

      I've used cannabis almost DAILY since I was 16. I'm a high school dropout too by the way, so you know the odds in life were stacked against me because of that. I taught myself everything I needed to know to start a career in IT. I currently make 6 figures, all legally. I pay my taxes. I own 3 homes. I'll be retiring at the ripe old age of about 42(less than 10 years from now). I'm also in excellent physical health. I'm 5' 7" and weigh 155lbs. My resting heart rate is about 42bpm. I can run a sub 5 minute mile, squat 350lbs and bench 225. You get the idea.

      So...I'd like to know EXACTLY what makes me a loser? Am I a loser simply because you don't like the plants I use? Go f * c * _k yourself.

      March 19, 2012 at 10:05 | Report abuse |
    • line8break

      Someones sounds insecure

      March 19, 2012 at 10:32 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Gee, Billy...what are your crutches? By the way, perhaps you should go sodomize yourself

      March 19, 2012 at 10:33 | Report abuse |
    • J.Crobuzon

      Life's so simple when you're in the 10th grade, isn't it, little Billy? And then you grow up and find out there it's not all like Mom said it was. In your case, maybe you should smoke some of this crud; please be walking beside a freeway or standing next to an open window when you do.

      March 19, 2012 at 11:18 | Report abuse |
    • supergeezer

      Little billy sounds jealous of the tens of millions of people who use and praise cannabis, most of which have probably achieved a higher (pardon the pun) status in life than billy, and he knows it.

      March 19, 2012 at 11:51 | Report abuse |
    • markusp

      Billy, are you aware that alcohol is a drug? It's a depressant, and a highly effective depressant. Is anyone that takes a drink of alcohol included in your isolated world of ignorance?

      March 19, 2012 at 12:32 | Report abuse |
    • pat

      Like Abe Lincoln?

      March 19, 2012 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      tacc2 is so correct. Don't think I could have said it better. Except I only have 1 house.

      March 19, 2012 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
    • cali

      Yes gonna is the crutch I use to help take my mind off the fact.my mother is slowely dying. Tanya is what helps take my mothers mind off the pain of it. So yes, it is what hold me together spiritually and recreationally. I could easily go grab some meth and be numb that way, but I don't. So before Downing on something you OBVIOUSLY don't know a.whole lot about, how about some research. How about you go kill yourself with the chemicals you put in your body, and ill just sit here and laugh at it in my "stoned" way. So, like.I said, GO EDUCATE YOURSELF, before.you judge.

      March 19, 2012 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
    • monah

      Whether a weed smoker is a loser, a slacker, high as a kite, or whatever really isn't the issue. It's about smokers using synthetic marijuana and ending up in the ER. To reiterate; I have never known or heard of anyone ending up in the ER from smoking weed!

      March 19, 2012 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
    • bobh

      Billy boy, I retired in 1993 at the ripe old age of 44. Oh my! I also smoked pot since 1964. When I retired I had a cabin in Buena Vista, CO and a very nice home in Tucson, AZ. I made my money legally and I paid taxes. My profession was "corporate pilot" for some of the largest companies in the states and abroad. I am also an A/P FAA Certified Mechanic.

      I also know some of those pilots that fly the airlines and smoke pot so you better stay off the airlines and don't think about riding a bus or taking a taxi. GFYourself.

      March 19, 2012 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
    • sam

      I'm a successful professional [lawyer] of 45 years and most of my friends are also professionals [doctors, lawyers accountants] of long duration and we all smoke marijuana. The only losers posting on this site are those that are employed by the alcohol industry or law enforcement or perhaps they are simply misinformed or religious, but whatever, calling people names like loser is not really a persuasive debating technique

      March 19, 2012 at 18:34 | Report abuse |
    • kooolguy

      billy and doc are losers who don't know how to think for themselves. read a book, open your mind, do some research, hey smoke some weed. but don't judge others that do because that makes you an idiot

      March 19, 2012 at 20:40 | Report abuse |
  6. MB

    To the Maximus Foundation – The way to end the issues caused by synthetic MJ is to legalize the real thing.

    March 19, 2012 at 08:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jlv

      You arguement doesn't make sense. The primary users of that fake weed garbage are teenagers. People who would be excluded from using real mj so it would not stop the problem. But it would reduce usage in my opinion much in the same way that cigarettes are illegal to teenagers but alot of them still seem to be smoking them, but irrespective of what would or wouldn't be the result of legalization this synthetic marijuana needs to be outlawed it sounds like the stuff is as dangerous as huffing paint.

      March 19, 2012 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
    • J.Crobuzon

      It's nothing like pot; pot doesn't give you a huge rush that leaves you disoriented and confused. A local kid beat his girl to death after huffing some, then immediately called 911 crying. This is like snorting bugspray, not smoking weed.

      March 19, 2012 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
  7. Portland tony

    There may be cases when people have had to have ER work done because of a combination of drugs including marijuana or synthetic derivatives, but I've never heard of a case of organic marijuana induced ER trauma. (doesn't include unsuspecting ingestion, which might scare the crap out of the uninitiated).
    So I don't know what this story says except synthetic dope is probably dangerous. Just don't drink out of anyman's cup

    March 19, 2012 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Loretta Nall

    Just as dangerous as what? Real marijuana isn't dangerous....unless the police get wind of you using it, kick in your door at 3 a.m, shoot the family dog, set your kids on fire with flash bang grenades and either kill the adults or haul them off to jail while the kids go to foster care or a burn unit. Gupta you ARE a PHYSICIAN. You should not perpetuate things you know to be lies. It's disgraceful.

    March 19, 2012 at 09:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jlv

      Gupta may approve of the content of this article, but he didn't right this piece. It is poorly written in that it compares two totally different things. Like comparing the scribblings of an illiterate madman and the War and Peace.

      March 19, 2012 at 11:09 | Report abuse |

    I've read my Bible – where does it say "they would light "incense" and see visions"?

    March 19, 2012 at 09:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tony

      read genesis ch:1 verse 29

      March 19, 2012 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
  10. Portland tony

    @doc...The point of the blog was that buying so-called legal synthetic marijuana would send you to an ER pretty fast. You can argue all you want about getting high or not. Some drugs are meant to get you high. They include alcohol, opiates, amphetamines, hypnotics, hallucinogens etc...Some are prescribed for pain relief others for psychiatric purposes, others are used for
    self medication. Bottom line, the blog was about fake drugs sold over the counter as "bath salt" etc....not about real drugs, their use or abuse.


    March 19, 2012 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Chris

    Marijuana is only dangerous if you happen to be a bag of Doritos.

    March 19, 2012 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • blue

      this may be the funniest thing I have ever read...................

      March 19, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
  12. Myto Senseworth

    I wish all the drugs that I have been given by profesionals was only as "dangerous as marijuana".

    March 19, 2012 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. t3chsupport

    Just as dangerous as marijuana, eh? When's the last time someone died from smoking pot? What that SHOULD say is that it is just as dangerous as ALCOHOL, which we KNOW is dangerous and kills people all the time.

    March 19, 2012 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • J.Crobuzon

      I swear it's like an advertisement for the stuff. Hey, it's as good as pot, so come on down. CNN needs to fire someone.

      March 19, 2012 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
  14. Fiery Buddha

    connivence store? what's that? this article is badly written and full of typos. boo cnn, boo – your journalistic integrity slips daily. boo.

    March 19, 2012 at 10:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. c

    I have two college degrees and a full time job. I finished high school a year early too. I've smoke marijuana almost daily since I was 14 years old. My health is fine.

    However, K2 is very different than real marijuana. The effects are stronger and the possibility of having a panicked attack is pretty high. It can't kill you like one whacko up there claims. But, it's certainly a different and more serious drug than pot.

    March 19, 2012 at 10:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • @youignantdotcom

      LOL not sure where you get your information from "MR. I graduated high school a year early, and have 2 degrees", but If you do a simple google search, you will see that K2 has in fact KILLED people.

      March 19, 2012 at 12:58 | Report abuse |
  16. The Man!

    More proof that regular marijuana needs to be legalized, period. There is not a single legitimate reason for it to be illegal in the first place, not one.

    March 19, 2012 at 10:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Myto Senseworth

    All drugs are "More dangerious than marijuana".....even coffee.....

    March 19, 2012 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Myto Senseworth

    Everybody that posted a pro-pot message here will be getting an e-mail from the fedz......It's a trap ! run

    March 19, 2012 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Mike Cutler

    Dr. Gupta, if you waddle like a duck (parrot "refer madness" without comparing the harm caused by marijunana prohibition to the harms - and health effects - caused by marijuana), people may believe you are a quack rather than a healthcare professional.

    March 19, 2012 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. John

    I am not a fan of Marijuana. I do not wish to see it become legal. But I would rather have people smoke Marijuana than this stuff. I have seen first hand what it can do to people. I have seen a man walking around his property with a bow and arrow and say he was looking for men wearing invisible clothing that were out to kill him.

    March 19, 2012 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rick

      seems like a pretty flimsy reason for keeping this wonder plant illegal

      March 19, 2012 at 14:55 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      john: and this guy with the bow, how can you determine that he was on marijuana, or on just marijuana?

      March 19, 2012 at 14:57 | Report abuse |
    • monah

      He could have had the "DT's"

      March 19, 2012 at 18:43 | Report abuse |
  21. ipayattention

    it should never be the job of the government to protect you from yourself.......all laws on drug use are a violation of civil rights.....what i choose to take into my body is my right, my choice, and my buisness.....period

    March 19, 2012 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • J.Crobuzon

      What the article should have said is that you'd be safer inhaling bugspray or paint than you'd be using this dreck. Avoid it like poison, and don't take MY word for it.

      March 19, 2012 at 11:36 | Report abuse |
  22. PhatDajuan

    So stuff like K2 is "just as dangerous" as REAL marijuana? Gee, I'm 53 years old, and I have never heard of anyone being taken to the hospital after smoking a joint or doing a bong hit. No one has ever died of a marijuana overdose, pot is not particularly addicting, and it's certainly no more harmful than alcohol or tobacco. Comparing something as enjoyable and innocuous as marijuana to some new synthetic drug is ludicrous.

    March 19, 2012 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. supergeezer

    The moderators ate my comment. I hope it gives you the s h ! t s.

    March 19, 2012 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. edogditty

    "connivance" or "convenience" stores? Funny, the author of this article must have been smoking synthetic herb.

    March 19, 2012 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Damon

    4500 "calls," is that all? It's known to cause paranoia and fear, especially if you don't know what you are smoking. Naturally it would produce calls to the ER, but at least they called. Barely any calls are made for illegal things. Getting a few calls should not be a basis for fear. At worst, they'll sleep it off. Let us know when you can prove that it causes deaths or actual health consequences, and suicides don't count. Other legal drugs can cause death, blackouts, liver and kidney damage, brain damage, violent behavior, all of which are accepted effects of alcohol. Yet here we are being outraged about 4500 calls, not actual visits, that more than likely caused nothing more than family problems in the long run.

    March 19, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. tacc2

    Actually, this synthetic garbage is WAY more dangerous than natural cannabis. Natural cannabis has a history of use about as old as the human race itself. It's less harmful than aspirin. When was the last time you heard of someone dying of a marijuana overdose? It never happens.

    Trying to ban this crap is just going to create a black market for it. It will then be smuggled into the country from China and sold to teens anyhow, while you all pat yourselves on the back for "stopping" the latest "menace to our precious children". A more rational thing to do would be to establish laws for quality control of the product and to prohibit sales to people under 21. An even more rational thing to do would be to legalize and regulate cannabis so that no one would even want the fake stuff.

    March 19, 2012 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Brenda

    I recently had to take my 16 year old son to the emergency room because he chose to use the synthetic marajauna. I CAN TELL YOU RIGHT NOW THAT IT NEEDS TO BE MADE ILLEGAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    For all you pot-heads out there that think it's ok to smoke pot and smoke the synthetic marajauana, you obviously don't have children and have not seen what this crap does to kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have seen its effects first hand and would absolutely love to kick your ass for advocating the use of these drugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 19, 2012 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rick

      so, brenda, synthetic pot did some damage to your son, so real pot is to blame?

      i had a cousin who died from obesity....i suppose it would be consistent with your view to make broccoli illegal

      March 19, 2012 at 12:36 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Also, Brenda, caps and all those exclamation points don't help your argument, such as it is

      March 19, 2012 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
    • mental health

      Brenda, Look up borderline and histrionic personality disorder. You may fit a few or all criteria.
      That also may be why your son wanted to get high.
      Teenagers do stupid things. This is one reason a girl should be given a birth control pill every day sstarting at age 13. Second, reason, no one needs to deal with cramps, blood, leakage, napkins, or tampons, once a month- it's cruel. Better to have little or no period and focus on grades or space camp. Cjildhood is something you survive- it is not a given- teens agers are stupid and have little aversion to risk. This is a fact. All yu can do is watch them like a hawk and educate them.

      March 19, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
    • brillow

      i doubt potheads are advocating the use of synthetic marijuana, more like the manufacturers, and yes THEY need to have there buts kicked

      March 19, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
    • DaisyJane

      Brenda – why are you damning marijuana, when it is not the substance that hurt your son? That makes absolutley no sense to me. And yes I have a teenage child too.

      March 19, 2012 at 12:54 | Report abuse |
  28. To The Maximus Foundation

    Wow! This is a perfect example of how someone that doesn't do their homework shouldn't be writing articles Go to our blog to get the real story. Synthetic marijuana is MUCH more dangerous than the real marijuana. Common side effects are seizures, hallucinations, paranoid delusions, panic attacks, anxiety, increased heart rate, vomiting, and inability to feel pain. We also have reports of heart attacks, exaggerated thoughts of suicide and homicide, inability to control body temperature, increased blood pressure, depression, psychosis, and organ failure. I volunteer for To The Maximus Foundation, an organization that educates the public about the dangers of synthetic marijuana. My son was hospitalized for synthetic marijuana use, but I was the lucky one. Karen Dobner, the founder of the organization, lost her son to synthetic marijuana, and many of the people in the organization have lost children, siblings, and parents. For more information about this terrible drug and what you can do about it, please find To The Maximus on Facebook, on Twitter @fakeweed, or our blog on WordPress at http://tothemaximus.wordpress.com. Protect your son, daughter, bother, sister, nephew, niece, grandson, granddaughter, cousin, cousin, friend, or community and join us to learn, share and act!

    March 19, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. mental health

    How stupid. Marijuana dangerous. Complete idiots.
    This is a drug that causes tollerance after three days. Tne you get relaxed, hungry and loss motivation and some short term memory.
    If you sent this to Kony's people, Iran, they would not care about dominating anyone or making weapons. They would watch TV and eat snacks all day. Yes, dangerous drug if you want people to be violent, anxious, and aggresive instead.
    Legalize it and stop half the war with Mexico and America. Cut half the taxes to citizens as well. NOW.

    March 19, 2012 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. M

    Another media con job. Legalize pot and you won't have this problem or if you do it's because of a stupid governement who just want's tax dollars. I'm an old man and I have NEVER heard of anyone who used pot having to go to ER, not even a kid. Just goes to show you that when man choses to play god he fails. Pot is a natural substance and there is no such thing as a man made natural substance. Legalize the real thing and ban this garbage. I would vote for legalization for 21 year olds in a minute, 18 year olds... possibly but I'd have to think about that one.

    March 19, 2012 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. mental health

    Oh, I know plenty of people who smoke every day and are awesome people, great parents, hard workers, in great shape.
    Pot is what it is and better than ciggs and ethol. Really- it is. It saves people who are very physically ill as well– saves them.
    Legalizing pot is a no brainer. I joke about it, but it really is a great drug. Better than any perscription anti anxiety and other Rx meds with cancer,etc. Pot is maybe psychologically addictive it is NOt physically addictive- like ciggs or ethol. Kids who use synthetic stuff are in for trouble. Educate yourself so you can educate your kids.
    Thsi artcle is pretty silly as is any histeria over weed. Oh, and i don't smoke myself.

    March 19, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. John Doe.

    I have been a daily marijuana smoker for the last 8 years. In those 8 years, I have had no serious health issues related to my habit. Two years ago, While i was looking for a new job, i quit smoking marijuanna and tried to use K2 as an alternative.
    I found that it was not near as enjoyable, i was having migraines, and my short term memory was far worse than it had ever been. I was waking up feeling Clueless. I would compare the feelting to that of someone hufffing paint thinner – STUPID!!
    Not that i would ever promote marijuanna – it is illegal, but from my experiences, its certainly much safer than these alternatives.

    March 19, 2012 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. mom

    Its simple people no need to argue about things. If its illegal don't buy it, smoke it. snort it, inject it, or drink it. Simple as that! If you need it for medical reasons then your doctor will prescribe it, if they don't then chances are you really don't need it.

    March 19, 2012 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pat

      The article is about something that is legal.

      March 19, 2012 at 14:12 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      mom: you feel that the law has any business telling adults what they can put in their bodies?

      March 19, 2012 at 14:12 | Report abuse |
  34. pat

    Let's start a list of things that are "more dangerous than marijuana."
    Let me begin. Mosquitoes, Religion, saturated fats, motorcycles, every other drug known to man, airbags, tanning booths,...
    Help me out here.

    March 19, 2012 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pat

      ...second hand tobacco smoke,...

      March 19, 2012 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      i have read where researchers have determined the fatal dosage of marijuana. turns out the fatal dosages is a 50 lb bale....dropped from a 5th story window

      March 19, 2012 at 14:15 | Report abuse |
    • brillow


      March 19, 2012 at 16:16 | Report abuse |
  35. mom

    hmmmm lets see what is the difference between those things and marijuana? Oh yeah they are legal, knew there was something you were missing.

    March 19, 2012 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rick


      legality can (and will) change. what is the rationale for prohibiting pot while allowing alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, etc?

      March 19, 2012 at 14:17 | Report abuse |
    • pat

      but the article is about SM which is legal, so it's OK, right? Tobacco is OK also because the government determines what is safe and makes it legal for you, right?

      March 19, 2012 at 14:20 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      pat: not to mention all the pills advertised as nauseum where the warnings go on for half the commercial....."don't take if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, ever knew anyone who was pregnant....." or "for an er-ec-tion lasting more than four hours...."

      March 19, 2012 at 14:32 | Report abuse |
    • supergeezer

      mom, do you smell your boogers before you eat them?

      March 19, 2012 at 14:39 | Report abuse |
  36. John

    Say what you will, but K2 helps relieve my arthritis pain and helps my wife's MS symtems. Unfortunately like most everything else at the moment, we can't afford it right now.

    March 19, 2012 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. UncleJohn

    Should have just let them have the real weed. Now they're smoking God knows what.

    March 19, 2012 at 14:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rick

      That time is coming soon. William Bennett wrote an opinion piece about how Pat Robertson was wrong regarding legalization, but the majority of the nation does not agree with him, and the gap keeps getting bigger and bigger as the prohibitionist folk die out.

      March 19, 2012 at 14:35 | Report abuse |
  38. pat

    Pleasure for the sake of pleasure – with value in and of itself – the measure of all things. That is why pot is illegal. People are afraid to attribute the highest value to something like pleasure enjoyed for no other reason than it's pleasurable.

    March 19, 2012 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rick

      pat: i don't know that that is the reason for the law as it is

      March 19, 2012 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
  39. rick

    mom: do you support your opinion, or just state them and run?

    March 19, 2012 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. ML Mathre

    Dr. Gupta I know you have done a show in the past on medical cannabis. I realize you were writing about the illicit synthetic cannabinoids, but I highly recommend that you consider updating yourself on the safety and efficacy of cannabis as well as the new science on the endocannabinoid system. Please consider attending the accredited conference, The Seventh National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, that will be held in Tucson on April 26-28, 2012. If you understood the history and current science, I would hope that you would refer to this wonderful herbal medicine by its proper name (cannabis) rather than the prejudicial name (marijuana) used by our federal government. People need to understand that this was a very popular medicine in the US before the "reefer madness" campaign in the 1930s that managed to ultimately prohibit the medication, by lies about this NEW drug that the Mexicans called marijuana (or marihuana). More information available at: http://www.medicalcannabis.com

    March 19, 2012 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Myto Senseworth

    Pretty much everything is more dangerious than Pot. Human milk is full of toxins...so...yes.....safer than your mother's milk.

    March 19, 2012 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Myto Senseworth

    The poision from big pharma should be taken off of the shelf too. These drugs are going to kill a lot of people.

    March 19, 2012 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. widget

    Guess i am too dumb for this article. I am still trying to figure out what the synthetic marijuana is "just as dangerous" as. Alcohol? Deep fried lard? what?
    Of course, I am still wondering why the real marijuana is a "dangerous, illegal plant" when the blood pressure medication I take has a side effect list of WAAAY worse conditions than "munchies" and "giggles"

    March 19, 2012 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. bobh

    This is the idiot that posted this article and other stupid stuff....Don't bother to read the other garbage she writes. It is about the same quality.

    Post by: Val Wadas-Willingham – CNN Medical Producer
    Filed under: Addiction • Adolescent Health • Drug Safety

    March 19, 2012 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. tiffany

    I work in EMS. You know what we do for people high on pot? Leave them alone. Pot by itself isn't dangerous. These synthetic drugs are the bad cases we are seeing

    March 19, 2012 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Justfor Funn

    I smoked marijuana every day from 1969 to October 2010 and never had any ill effects from it. The only reason I stopped smoking it was because I was getting ready to retire, and I knew that I wouldn't be able to afford to smoke it every day. I haven't smoked a joint since October 2010 but with all of the talk about synthetic marijuana, I am thinking about trying a bag. The first thing on my agenda for tomorrow is to find a store and buy a bag and a pack of e-z-wider. All of this talk is making me want to try it.

    March 19, 2012 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. connie ross

    There are also two spelling mistakes and one error in punctuation in the first three paragraphs, and I noticed those after just a quick read-through. No wonder kids have so much trouble using English correctly.

    March 19, 2012 at 19:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. joe

    You're just not very bright, are you Gupta? It's low rent uninformed quacks such as yourself that are a large part of the problems this country is experiencing.

    March 19, 2012 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Tony Cipriani

    I am not surprised what people will use to get high or escape from reality. They will make excuses too about it.

    March 19, 2012 at 20:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rick

      people use all sorts of things to get high and escape reality. drugs, religion, television.....but i repeat myself

      March 20, 2012 at 08:19 | Report abuse |
  50. nwtoker

    why are you all calling this stuff synthetic marajuana, its not marajauna at all not even close.call lt what it is, man made chemicals sprayed on something and smoked.

    March 19, 2012 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.