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Copyright 2014 by Attorney Carlos Gamino

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that young people who use this fake weed are more likely to:

  • Use other drugs
  • Use alcohol
  • Behave violently
  • Have high-risk sex

The chemicals in fake weed can cause all kinds of health problems, including:

  • Seizures
  • Permanent heart damage
  • Liver damage
  • Stroke
  • Psychosis
  • Dependence

What’s worse, these chemicals can cause death through overdose, and many young people have committed suicide while using them.

According to Dr. Robert Glatter, an ER physician who works at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, the effects are terrifying—not just for onlookers, but from the people using these so-called synthetic cannabinoids.

“Teens who use synthetic cannabinoids, really, it's playing a game of Russian roulette,” says Glatter. “Typically, they become very aggressive and violent in the ER, and often they require chemical (sedation) if not physical restraint. We've had people with seizures requiring airway management and intubation. Other times, they can smoke it and become a little violent, seize once, and that's it. In other cases, they can become a little violent, a little agitated, and that's it. They wake up in a few hours.”

Glatter also says that fake weed, despite being labeled as “natural,” is anything but—and that it can kill you.

“Using marijuana, which I'm not condoning, is safer. We don't see the violent behavior or the seizure aspect we see with this drug,” Glatter says.

Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant unit chief for psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital New York, says there can be permanent brain damage.

“There is a possibility you can alter the neuro circuitry just from ingesting some of these agents. ... There could be some sustained injury,” says Krakower. “It's a different kind of psychosis than we might see with other patients. The psychosis is an agitated psychosis. They're violent. They can become aggressive. It is very scary, if you've ever seen these kids on it. And coming off of it is very, very scary, too. It takes them a few days sometimes to get rid of the paranoia. Sometimes, they'll be paranoid for like 48, 72 hours.”

What Do You Think?

Is there a way to tackle this kind of drug use, and what should we be doing about the epidemic that’s currently sweeping across state after state? 
I’d love to hear your take on fake weed, so please share your thoughts on my Facebook page or on my  Twitter feed.

Carlos Gamino

Fake Weed and Our Teens - Carlos Gamino
​By Carlos Gamino

It looks like incense, and it’s sold in a shiny, neat little package.

But it’s not incense. It’s a splattering of chemicals that produce sensations similar to those that THC produces, it’s called “fake weed,” and it’s incredibly
News from Attorney Carlos Gamino

Synthetic Cannabinoids: What You Need to Know

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