Synthetic Pot Sickened Hundreds in Colorado

CDC finds at least 221 cases
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2013 12:10 AM CST
Synthetic pot, unlike real pot, is banned in marijuana.   (Wikipedia/Schorle)

(Newser) – Fake pot—which, unlike real pot, is illegal in Colorado—sickened at least 221 people in the state during an outbreak earlier this year, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report finds. The probe found two previously unknown strains of synthetic marijuana—dried plant material sprayed with chemicals—on sale in the state, and investigators are trying to determine whether the new varieties contributed to the outbreak, the AP reports. Nationwide, more than 11,000 people were hospitalized in 2011 after using synthetic pot.

The synthetic pot is sold under brand names like Spice, and regulators are having a tough time outlawing it because its chemical makeup keeps changing. The CDC says it looked deeper into 127 of the cases and found that 10 people were admitted into intensive care, but no deaths were confirmed. The patients reported symptoms including high blood pressure, agitation, and confusion. Four stores selling the stuff that made them sick were shut down by police; Coloradoans looking for a high will be able to walk into stores and buy real marijuana for recreational use as of January 1.

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