Synthetic marijuana, often used by individuals who must pass a substance test or drug screen, is seeing an increase and this is alarming a number of medical professionals in Canada and the USA. Synthetic marijuana is not an actual plant, instead it is a combination of different chemicals created in order to skirt the current drug laws. Synthetic marijuana is a designer drug, and it can have serious or even deadly consequences for users. In the state of Colorado alone more than 260 people ended up in the Emergency Room in the last 12 months as a result of using synthetic marijuana, and some of these patients had very serious symptoms that included hallucinations, delirium, aggression, physical violence, and thoughts of harming themselves or others. Seizures, irregular or rapid heart rates, and other medical conditions have also been reported from synthetic marijuana use or abuse.
The reported cases of patients who ended up in the Emergency Room due to synthetic marijuana use has more than doubled in the last few years, and emergency physicians believe that the number is actually grossly under reported. Many people who use synthetic marijuana are reluctant to seek care, and may wait out the symptoms or deny any drug use if they do seek medical treatment. Synthetic marijuana is created by spraying a dried plant material with psychoactive chemicals, and some believe that these designer drugs are closer to methamphetamine than to actual marijuana. The chemicals sprayed on the dried plant materials can vary widely, so users do not actually know what they are smoking or putting into their bodies.