Synthetic Pot Sickens San Diegans

Synthetic Pot Sickens San Diegans

At least a dozen people in San Diego were sickened on Sunday, 2 of them seriously, after ingesting a bad batch of synthetic marijuana.

The victims were mostly young people, including a 13-year-old, according to San Diego Fire Rescue Capt. Joe Amador. It’s not clear whether the fake pot, or “spice,” was taken voluntarily. [1]

Authorities began receiving phone calls around 1 p.m. Sunday about people suffering from vomiting and seizures. At least 1 individual reportedly lose consciousness. The calls for help continued for 5 hours, and many of the victims were taken to the hospital in mild to serious condition. Amador said that emergency responders were dispatched to at least 3 locations. [2]

“They are disoriented, they are slightly hallucinogenic,” San Diego Police Battalion Chief Mike Finnerty said. “They ramble when they talk.”

The synthetic drug was sold in black packages with blue dragons on the side, according to San Diego police. Officers said they were still trying to track down both victims and witnesses, and warned anyone who might have purchased fake weed in the downtown area about overdoses.

“[The drug is] a manufactured substance and depending on who manufactured it, it could be of different qualities, different strengths,” Finnerty said. “It could be that the current batch that these people are accessing is much stronger than what they are used to or it could have some other unknown chemical in it that’s not normally in it.”

Synthetic marijuana, a “designer drug,” is made of herbs, incense or other leafy materials sprayed with chemicals that mimic the effects of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in natural marijuana. The chemicals used in Spice (also known as “K2) are highly addictive and provide no medical benefit. In fact, the drug is associated with rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, profuse sweating, confusion, hallucinations and even heart attacks. [3]

When people smoke or ingest Spice, they often become highly paranoid and seem to develop superhuman strength that causes them to do crazy, dangerous things. Users also become impervious to pain. In one case, a man high on Spice used his hands to stop an electric saw being used by police to open a door.

Law enforcement officials have their own name for Spice: “weaponized marijuana.” Fake pot earned the moniker from the bizarre ways in which it makes users act, including shrugging off stun guns and tasers.


[1] Fox News

[2] CBS Sacramento