Military's New Worry: Synthetic Pot
Pentagon sees a huge spike among service members
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2011 9:11 AM CST
This file photo shows a package of K2 synthetic marijuana.   (AP Photo/Kelley McCall)
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(Newser) – More and more American soldiers are using synthetic marijuana, specifically an herbal concoction called "Spice" that is both potent and easy to get, reports AP. The Pentagon put into place a rigorous testing program this year that flagged more than 1,000 troops. One stat shows the spike: Two years ago, the Navy investigated 29 Marines for using Spice. This year, it was more than 700. The Air Force, meanwhile, punished 500 members in 2011.

As AP explains, Spice is produced from exotic plants from Asia whose leaves are glazed with chemicals that simulate the effects of THC but are five to 200 times more powerful. It's readily available on the Internet and even in convenience stories in some states. The FDA has begun cracking down on some of the chemicals commonly used in the drug, and a urine test is now available. Manufacturers, however, keep altering the ingredients to try to stay ahead.