According to the Los Angeles Times, a $2-million federal drug grant was used by scientists at Clemson University to study the interaction between drugs and brain receptors. The Clemson team created 460 synthetic cannabinoid compounds for tests on lab animals.
Like a chemical Frankenstein the cannabinoid compounds escaped from the lab. It soon appeared in convenience stores, gas stations and head shops with names like K2, Spice and Skunk. In its most basic form synthetic marijuana is an herbal combination sprayed with an illegal substance. The formula has been published in scientific journals.
Parents concerned about the manufacture of synthetic marijuana, please see the attached video.
Forbes reports that, “Synthetic pot is more dangerous than the natural drug because the active ingredient binds more strongly to cannabis receptors in the brain.” It is the binding to the cannabis receptors in the synapses of the brain that gives the drug its action. It is similar to the serotonin bonding that occurs when someone suffering from depression takes Zoloft or Celexa.
Synthetic marijuana can cause seizures, hallucinations, tremors, paranoia, convulsions, high blood pressure and rapid heart rate, say emergency room doctors. Poison control centers have received 4,500 calls over the last two years from people using fake marijuana, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
Beginning January 1, 2012 synthetic marijuana was banned in Illinois. Chicago passed similar legislation earlier in 2011. This has not slowed, but not stopped the drug’s use. Recent arrests include the following.
• On June 25 two men were charged with selling synthetic marijuana at Itasca Tobacco, 1215 W. Irving Park Road in Itasca.
• Geneva police arrested a 25 year old man from Batavia for possession of drug paraphernalia on June 23 in the parking lot of a store in the 1500 block of South Randall Road.
• On June 27 officers with the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group, Herrin Police Department, and the Illinois Department of Revenue raided Gift World on North Park Avenue. Officers carried out several boxes filled with synthetic drugs known as “bath salts” and other drug paraphernalia. This was the second arrest at this location.
• On June 5 two people were arrested on outstanding arrest warrants over the weekend in Carmi. One of the arrests resulted in the alleged seizure of a quantity of K-2, a form of synthetic marijuana.
The States’ Attorney of Illinois, local police and county prosecutors are waiting to see the impact of the new law. Besides Illinois more states have banned synthetic marijuana. Most notably for Chicagoland, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed into law a strengthened ban on synthetic marijuana.