"But with something sold as part of a 'spice package' you might think you're smoking herbs. And they're not herbs. You're not smoking tea or oregano. These are chemicals that are synthesized from scratch to act on the same receptors in the brain as real marijuana. But they are just pure chemicals, with no quality control and with the real potential to be toxic," he explained.
"So there was a time when selling them, and probably the use of them, was perceived as non-harmful," Bisaga noted. "But hopefully now, with the bans that have been put in place and the release of this kind of data, we are catching up to reality."
For more on synthetic marijuana, visit the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
SOURCES: Peter J. Delany, rear admiral, director, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, Md.; Adam Bisaga, M.D., professor of psychiatry, Columbia University, and addiction psychiatrist, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York City; Dec. 4, 2012, SAMHSA Drug Abuse Warning Network, The DAWN Report
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