Teen Dies In Coma After Smoking Synthetic Marijuana

By Bryan Le 08/11/14

The parents of 19-year-old Connor Eckhardt hope to warn others about the dangers of synthetic pot.


Last month, a 19-year-old teen in California slipped into a coma and passed away after smoking synthetic marijuana, and now his parents want to warn others in order to prevent similar deaths in the future.

On July 11, Connor Eckhardt smoked synthetic weed with his friends. Soon after smoking the drug, he fell into a coma with brain swelling. “In a moment of peer pressure, he gave into that, thinking that was OK, it was somehow safe, and one hit later, he goes to sleep and never wakes up,” said Connor’s father Devin Eckhardt.

Synthetic marijuana typically consists of dried herbs sprayed with chemicals that simulate marijuana's effects for a legal pot. Some synthetic weed, formulated to be a barely legal chemical variation of cannabis, have been known to cause altered mental states, irregular heartbeats, and seizures.

Enterprising chemists have created synthetic drugs to simulate almost any drug, including "bath salts," which were erroneously blamed for the Florida face-eating incident. Though not all synthetic drugs cause negative health symptoms, their unregulated nature makes it hard to keep the products safe.

“These substances are not benign,” said Dr Andrew Monte. “You can buy designer drugs of abuse at convenience stores and on the Internet. People may not realize how dangerous these drugs can be—up to 1,000 times stronger binding to cannabis receptors when compared to traditional marijuana.”

Connor's parents have since fulfilled their son's wishes to donate his organs. They have also created a Facebook page in his memory.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter