The effects of synthetic cannabinoids – referred to as synthetic marijuana — can be deadly, claiming the lives of 86 Floridians in 2018, according to a new state report.
The synthetic marijuana, a class of unknown chemicals, are packaged and sold by retailers nationwide.
But unlike cannabis, meaning pot or weed, the synthetic product contains manmade chemicals that haven’t been well researched and used to achieve the same “high” effect as marijuana.
The synthetic marijuana is cited in a report called “Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons by Florida Medical Examiners.” Published in November, the broad report was done by the Medical Examiners Commission and Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The data in the broad report contains a series of harmful drugs that were analyzed by toxicology results.
“Of the 28,227 deaths investigated by Florida’s medical examiners, toxicology results determined that the drugs listed…were present at the time of death in 12,080 deaths,” the report reads. “The medical examiners assessed whether the drug(s) identified was the cause of death or merely present at the time of death.”
On the issue of synthetic marijuana, deaths due to that drug increased by 25 percent and the detection of the drug in a deceased person’s system increased by 25 percent as well compared to 2017.
Health officials have deemed the drug unsafe for human consumption after numerous reported incidents where a person needed medical treatment across the country. And it has caused the death of many inmates in Florida prisons, according to various news sources.
How it’s consumed? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the synthetic cannabinoids are used in the following ways: Sprayed onto plant material and smoked; mixed into a liquid and vaped in electronic nicotine delivery devices (such as e-cigarettes); added to herbal tea or to food and swallowed.
Numerous brands of the drug are sold at stores including K2, Spice, Joker, Black Mamba, Kush, and Kronic. The CDC warns of many potential health problems from using the drug.
These symptoms include: agitation and irritability; confusion and concentration problems; hallucinations; delusions; psychosis; suicidal thoughts; violent behavior; seizures; sleepiness and dizziness.