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'Fake Marijuana' Users Showing Up in Emergency Rooms
Date:11/11/2010

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In the United States, the Drug Enforcement Agency has listed K2 as a "drug or chemical of concern." But because it isn't officially "scheduled," it remains legal under federal law, according to published reports.

Alarmed by the rise in popularity, several states have rushed to outlaw K2. Earlier this year, Kansas became the first state to ban K2. Other states that have outlawed it include Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, Michigan and Illinois (where K2 remains legal until the end of the year). There are similar bills pending in many other states, including Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, New York, New Jersey and Louisiana.

Scalzo said the prohibitions don't come a moment too soon. Little is known about the health effects of the drug. But he's heard enough anecdotal reports about strange behavior -- ranging from extreme agitation to withdrawal to a suicide after smoking K2 -- to be concerned.

"This chemical was not meant to be used in any kind of pharmaceutical manner," Scalzo said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Drug Abuse has more about synthetic THC.

SOURCES: Anthony Scalzo, M.D., chief of toxicology, St. Louis University, St. Louis, Mo.; John Huffman, Ph.D., research professor, organic chemistry, Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.


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