Synthetic Marijuana Resurfacing In Liquid Form

By McCarton Ackerman 05/22/14

Liquid synthetic weed has surfaced in Hawaii and on the mainland, and has been marketed to use in conjunction with electronic cigarettes.

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Synthetic marijuana might have been classified as a Schedule I drug by the U.S. government, but that hasn't stopped it from resurfacing on the streets in a liquid form.

The liquid drug has been found throughout several locations in Hawaii and numerous mainland states. A shop in Honolulu was found to be selling 2 ml bottles of the liquid for up to $50 and marketed it for use in conjunction with electronic cigarettes. Synthetic marijuana manufacturers are known to slightly alter the compounds of the drug as a means of evading police, but such practices have posed serious health concerns because each batch varies in potency as a result.

“The chemists are savvy,” said Hawaii Sen. Josh Greene, chair of the Senate health committee. “They stay a half-step ahead of us and we change the formulary and we put people behind bars. What we really need to do is increase the penalties.”

Earlier this month, a wave of emergency room visits throughout Texas were linked back to a questionable batch of synthetic marijuana. Over 100 overdoses in Dallas and Austin were reported over a five-day period, with patients reportedly hallucinating, suffering seizures, and violently acting out. Parkland Hospital physician Dr. Stacy Hail noted that some patients had “to be restrained” due to their reaction to the drug.

“Several of them came in with similar symptoms of psychosis, altered mental status, abnormal behavior – ranged from very sedated to an agitated state,” said Dr. James E’tienne, an emergency room physician at Baylor University Medical Center. “We don’t know what they’re putting in these synthetic drugs.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.