At least 71 people have #overdosed from synthetic marijuana in Connecticut, authorities reported Wednesday. The majority of these overdoses happened on the New Haven Green -- a downtown park near Yale University -- throughout the day, according to officials.
Testing from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration found that the drug in question is #K2, a potent, #synthetic drug that induces a marijuana-like effect. The DEA also says there were no additives in the K2.
Officials in New Haven say no deaths have been reported, though at least six victims were near death.
What is #synthetic marijuana?
Manufacturers started selling synthetic marijuana, often advertised as a safe "alternative" to marijuana, in the early 2000's. It is a class of designer drugs made up of psychoactive chemicals that are sprayed onto plant material. Synthetic marijuana is smoked, added to tea or food and eaten, or mixed into a liquid and vaped to produce a high. They mimic the effects of THC, the primary psychoactive compound naturally found in marijuana.
However, consumers don't know which chemical compounds are in the drugs, so toxicity and adverse effects can be unpredictable and vary widely. The products are often labeled as incense, herbal mixtures, or potpourri and sold openly under a variety of names like "K2," "Spice," "Mr. Nice Guy," and "Green Giant."
Why is synthetic marijuana so dangerous?
The chemical compounds in synthetic marijuana have been linked to a number of severe side effects, including #seizures, #psychosis and #death. In 2017, a review of studies on synthetic marijuana published in the journal Trends in Pharmacological Sciences concluded that these compounds are more dangerous than pot.
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