The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Monday, October 22, 2012
By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer
As a public service during homecoming week, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office is warning teens of the dangers of smoking synthetic marijuana.
"To state the obvious, synthetic weed is not the same as marijuana," said FCHS Resource Officer Jeff Sanders. "Despite some similarities in smell, the fake stuff can be up to 100 times stronger than the organic variety and can lead to convulsions, seizures, paranoia, hallucinations and high blood pressure in humans."
Originally developed by an organic chemistry professor at Clemson University, the active cannabinoid in synthetic marijuana was originally meant for lab animals, Sanders said.
The packaging even states that the product, often called K2, Spice or bath salts, is not intended for human consumption.
"Synthetic pot has been known to severely injure and even kill users," he said. "You can receive chemical burns to your lungs from smoking it."
No studies have been done on the long-term effects of smoking synthetic marijuana, making complications difficult to diagnose and treat, Sanders said. But the psychological effects are profound.
"Even if you smoke synthetic pot and nothing bad happens, is it really worth playing Russian roulette with your health?" Sanders asked. "There is nothing more expensive than paying the ultimate price for getting high."
"Your life is more important to you and to your family," he added. "Your family and friends would rather have you at home in their life, than just memories of you."