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Synthetic Marijuana

Synthetic Marijuana goes by many names such as Scooby Snax, Bomb Marley, Mad Hatter, Kush, Puff-Puff, Klimax and Jokers wild.  One of the most popular is K2 or “Spice” which is a mixture of herbs and spices that are typically sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.  Anyone, including children,  can purchase this product from various internet sights, friends and in some areas, local retailers.  With the sale of high grade marijuana selling for up to $600 an ounce, synthetic marijuana is a cheaper alternative for a “high” because it sells for about $10 a gram (price source: Carroll County Drug Task Force).   Even a first time use of synthetic marijuana can lead to illness or death.  According to the University of Michigan Monitoring the Future Study for 2013 there was a drop in the use of K2 among 12th graders. From 11.3% in 2012 to 7.9 % in 2013, among 10th graders, a drop in the use of k2 from 8.8% in 2012 to 7.4% in 2013 and also a drop among 8th graders  from 4.4% in 2012 to 4.0 % in 2013.


How is it used?

Like marijuana “Spice” is mainly abused by smoking.  Sometimes Spice is mixed with marijuana or prepared as an herbal infusion for drinking. K2/Spice is typically sold in small silvery plastic bags of dried leaves resembling potpourri and is marketed as “incense” that can be smoked. These usually carry a warning saying “Not for human consumption”.


How does Synthetic Marijuana affect the brain and body?

According to NIDA the affects are similar to marijuana causing elevated mood, relaxation, altered perception, extreme anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations.  Symptoms include rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation and confusion.  Spice can also raise the blood pressure and cause reduced blood supply to the heart and in a few cases it has been associated with heart attacks.  Regular users may experience withdrawal and addiction systems.


Trends in Carroll County 

There have been reported sales of synthetic marijuana throughout Carroll County however Manchester and Hampstead have since banned synthetics in their jurisdictions.  As of this date, Sykesville, New Windsor, Union Bridge and Westminster have not.



Psychological effects of synthetic marijuana are similar to those of marijuana and as a result was marketed as a legal alternative.   As of October 01, 2013 however, Maryland has banned the use of these synthetic alternatives.  Effects include loss of control, lack of pain response, increased agitation, pale skin, seizures, vomiting, profuse sweating, uncontrolled spastic body movements, elevated blood pressure, heart rate and palpitations.  Users may also experience restlessness, severe paranoia, delusions, hallucinations and increased agitation (source: ).


Carroll County Sheriff's Office • 100 North Court Street • Westminster, Maryland 21157
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