Synthetic marijuana is presently in high demand, and since it's legal in most states, it's a legal high as well. In fact the demand for synthetic marijuana is soaring all across the nation, but places like the Georgia Poison Center are cautioning users that it is highly dangerous.
"We started seeing a mushrooming of calls," Dr. Gaylor Lopez, director of the Georgia Poison Center, said with regard to concers over the legal synthetic marijuana.
Nationwide, more than 500 people have phoned poison centers about the drug already this year. This isÂ up from a meager 12 calls from last year.
Often referred to as spice, or K2, the demand for the drug is spreading. Packaged in brightly colored bags, the synthetic marijuana may only look harmless. It isn't.
Dr. Lopez cautions that K2 can be up to 15 times more powerful than natural marijuana and may lead to a disturbing range of symptoms.
"We've seen people with slight tremors to even seizure activity," Lopez said.
Yet synthetic marijuana is legal in 44 states and is easy to get almost anywhere. Available online and through magazine advertisements, the drug is very easy to obtain.
K2 drug user Jason Schmider toldÂ a CBSÂ reporter, "It's like a dream come true for an addict."
Schmider tried the drug more than 50 times before winding up hospitalized.
"That was the final straw," he said.
Meanwhile, the Drug Enforcement Administration is trying to learn what's in the drug itself. CBS News reporters were granted rare access at a special testing facility near Washington, D.C.
'They'll market it as incense, or bath salts," DEA Special Agent Gary Boggs told them.
According to Boggs, testing will help in deciding whether spice and K2 should be a controlled substance.
"The fact that they're legal really is almost irrelevant," said Boggs. "People are just basically playing Russian roulette with these every time they take them."
That's a gamble that wound up costing months of rehab for Jason Schmider.
"It was like the scariest moment of my life," said Schmider. "It's not worth it."
That's a warning drowned out by the quickly spreading reputation of a powerful high that's presntly legal, ridiculously easy to get and practically impossible to detect.
Drugs like synthetic marijuana scare me. As the mother of an addict I know how tempting these drugs can be for children or adults with addictive personalities. I also know when addicts can't get their drug of choice they will try just about anything available. With synthetic marijuana both easily accessible and mostly legal, this could present a very frightening situation for addicts, and could create new addicts from its users.
What do you think?