Teens are opting to smoke natural marijuana instead of the synthetic “fake pot” that goes by the names of K2, Spice, No More Mr. Nice Guy, and so on.
USA Today reported in a survey that high school seniors who said they smoked synthetic drugs such as K2 and Spice dropped from 11 percent in 2012 to 8 percent in 2013.
The survey was conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and was supported by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse; more than 40,000 students in middle and high school participated.
Synthetic or fake pot may have appeared in the United States around 2009 and has been marketed as a “legal high” according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers website. Fake pot is very different from real marijuana in that it contains powerful chemicals called cannabimimetics, basically dried plant material is sprayed with these chemicals and packaged to look like the real deal. After a spike in emergency rooms visits and deaths, in 2011 the Drug Enforcement Agency banned some of the chemicals used to make fake pot, but the manufacturers just use different powerful substances.
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Thus users don’t know for sure what they are getting since the ingredients varies; in early 2013, federal health officials discovered that two new types of fake pot had sickened more than 200 people in a month in Colorado according to Global News Update.
However, the use of natural marijuana is going up, according to one of the investigators, fewer teens see the drug as risky, and thus this perception may increase usage.
“Young people are getting the wrong message from the medical marijuana and legalization campaigns. If it’s continued to be talked about as a benign substance that has no ill effects, we’re doing a great disservice to young people in giving them that message,” Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control Policy, told USA Today.
S.C. Rhyne is a blogger and novelist in New York City. Follow the author on twitter @ReporterandGirl or facebook.com/TheReporterandTheGirl. Check out her website at http://www.SCRhyne.com