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Kids Using Synthetic Pot a Growing Public Health Concern
Date:3/19/2012

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- The recent advent of so-called "synthetic pot" is a rising public health concern, researchers warn, sending kids to the emergency room and prompting parental calls to poison control centers.

The concoction was originally conceived in a laboratory setting as a research aid for animal studies involving THC, a key stimulative ingredient in marijuana, the new report noted.

But purely recreational street use of this widely varying mix of plants and herbal ingredients is growing. It's widely available and is currently undetectable by commercial drug tests.

"The concern is that we're going to really see this grow in popularity," said study author Dr. Joanna Cohen, an assistant professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Children's National Medical Center, in Washington, D.C. "Because it's really easy to get, and because kids know that it doesn't come back on typical clinically useful urine drug screenings that we would use in an ER."

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, roughly 4,500 calls have come in since 2010 regarding toxicity stemming from synthetic marijuana use.

The new study appears online March 19 and in the April issue of Pediatrics.

Commonly referred to by a host of street names -- such as "K2," "Spice" and "Aroma" -- synthetic pot isn't made according to a fixed recipe and can differ from lab to lab and batch to batch.

The resulting product often includes some combination of blue and pink lotus, red clover, honey, vanilla, bay bean and marshmallow.

The blend -- which can be ingested either orally or via smoke inhalation -- is sprayed with chemicals that render the composition toxic.

Until recently, these synthetic mixtures were legal to purchase and readily available in corner stores and gas stations throughout the United States and on the Internet. In February
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