According to federal authorities, new variations of synthetic cannabinoids (also known as synthetic marijuana, Spice and K2) and synthetic cathinones (bath salts) have recently been driving young adults and teens into hospitals around the country in hughe numbers.
The latest Global Drug Survey confirms that synthetic drug use continues to increase worldwide. According to the survey, more than 20% of Americans and over 10% of people worldwide admitting having tried synthetic drugs at least once.
The new synthetic drugs sending people to the hospital recently are sold under several names, the most popular being Cloud 9, Mojo and Scooby Snax.
During the first 4 months of 2015, US poison control centers reported more than 2,400 exposures to synthetic marijuana, which is triple the number recorded during the same period in 2014.
In April, 2015, over a thousand people were admitted into hospitals around the US, with large-scale reports of hospitalizations in New York, Alabama, Michigan, Louisiana and Texas. Many cases involve hallucinations, psychotic episodes and aggressive behavior. Cases involving heart palpitations, dehydration, serious brain damage and death have also been reported.
Producers of synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones create dozens of new chemicals every year to evade state and federal classification as an outlawed substance.
While chemically similar to each other, every variant of synthetic drug is unique, untested and has the potential to inflict harm and result in unpredictable side effects. Dosage guidelines are lacking in most cases, and hospitals many not know how to treat an overdose due to the newness of the drug.
Synthetic drug side effects are in general more severe than natural marijuana and include aggressive and suicidal behavior in many users, most of whom are teens or young adults.
The two most popular new variations of synthetics that are especially dangerous include:
Cloud 9, Relax or Crown
Active ingredient: AB-PINACA, AB-FUBINACA
Cloud 9 and its new sibling. Cloud 10, are sold in herbal form for smoking and as a liquid, in eyedropper bottles. It is often consumed using vaporizing devices such as e-cigarettes or hookah pens. Side effects include hallucinations, aggressive/violent behavior, rapid heartbeat, sleepiness and nausea/vomiting.
Mojo, Spice, K2 or Scooby Snax
Active ingredient: MAB-CHMINACA & ADB-CHMINACA
In October, 2014, more than 150 hospital visits in Louisiana alone were caused by this strain of synthetic marijuana. The governor of LA promptly banned the drug in that state, as a result. Mojo, Spice and Scooby Snax are typically smoked in cigarette form or using pipes, bongs or other inhalant devices.
Mojo causes severe agitation, paranoia and anxiety in many users. It greatly increases the heart rate and blood pressure of users, as well. Other common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, seizures and tremors; intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes; and suicidal fixations.
Both strains of synthetic drugs are known to be addictive and can cause extreme side effects for some users.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from addiction or withdrawals from Cloud 9, Mojo or Scooby Snax, please get help immediately. Some people report having increased suicidal thoughts and severe anxiety during withdrawal.