Using Synthetic Marijuana Puts Teens at Risk of Injury or Violent Behavior
Teens who use synthetic marijuana are more likely to be injured or engage in violent behaviors than their peers who only use marijuana, a new study concludes.
Manufacturers of synthetic marijuana have changed the chemical formulation just enough to evade the yearlong ban by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on five chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana. The new formulation is being sold in stores and on the Internet, and is stronger than the old formula, according to an article in the Sun-Sentinel.
The chemicals, banned on March 1, are now classified as Schedule I substances, which have a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use for treatment in the United States and a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision. The ban will last for a year, but could be extended an additional six months. During that time, the agency will study the possibility of a permanent ban.
According to the article, one of the main brands of synthetic marijuana, Mr. Nice Guy, is no longer sold, but its manufacturer is promoting the brand Barely Legal. Florida police officials told the newspaper that Barely Legal is one of the new generation of synthetic marijuana products, which has been reformulated so that it does not violate the DEA ban.
Synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 and Spice, can cause symptoms including severe agitation, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, vomiting and, in some cases, hallucinations, tremors and seizures, according to the article.