Legalizing Cannabis Leads To Less Synthetic Cannabinoid Poisonings

Studies Show That Legalizing Cannabis Is Linked To Less Synthetic Cannabinoid Poisonings

Legalizing Cannabis Leads To Less Synthetic Cannabinoid Poisonings

Is the federal legalization of cannabis a public health concern? Is prohibiting recreational cannabis use doing more harm than good? Read on for more.

Artificial cannabinoids like K2 and Spice are anything but romantic or glamorous. In fact, in most cases, they prove to be fatal.

According to The Toxic Case Registry, there were more than 42,000 cases of synthetic cannabinoid poisonings between 2010-2015.

However, these numbers are decreasing in states where recreational cannabis use is legal. According to Tracy Klein, assistant director for The Center for Cannabis Policy, Research, and Outreach, WSU, Vancouver, Washington.

She is the principal author of a study showing that calls to poison centers about synthetic cannabinoids decreased by more than a quarter between 2016 and 2019 in states where cannabis is legal for recreational use.

“These products are made in a powder format and…sprayed on or added to something that looks exactly like natural cannabis. So, in a party situation, I could see that someone could use this unintentionally,” Says Klein.

According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, people often use artificial cannabinoids to “attempt to avoid positive drug screens…as a condition of employment, in substance abuse treatment programs, or in the criminal justice system.”

Studies Show That Legalizing Cannabis Is Linked To Less Synthetic Cannabinoid Poisonings

Legalizing Cannabis Leads To Less Synthetic Cannabinoid Poisonings: A Deadly Issue

In the last decade, marijuana copycats have sent thousands to emergency rooms. Many people have died. Including a 17-year-old boy who “had a cardiac arrest after consuming a single ‘hit of K2/Spice,” according to the CDC.

Synthetic cannabinoids are very dangerous and take many lives. 

In April 2018, in Illinois, 153 people were hospitalized, and four others died due to the use of synthetic cannabinoids laced with rat poison. A version of K2 was later found to have caused 95 deaths in New Haven, Connecticut. 

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Toxicology on Tuesday, analyzed data from the National Poison Data System (2016 to 2019). The researchers findings show that there were 7,600 calls about synthetic cannabinoid abuse in the three-year period. Most calls to poisoning centers were for cases requiring medical attention, while 61 people also died.

The study found that more than half (56%) of these calls came from states with restrictive cannabis policies. Nearly a third (38%) of these calls were from states that allow medicinal marijuana use. Additionally, 5.5% were in a “permissive” state where recreational cannabis use is legal.

Synthetic cannabinoids can cause mild to severe neurologic disorders that sometimes lead to coma. Additionally, there are psychiatric symptoms that include delusions, hallucinations, psychosis, and suicidal and violent behavior. Heart attack, respiratory failure, and death are all common side effects of synthetic cannabinoids.

Moreover, it seems that research shows that legalizing cannabis for recreational use significantly reduces fatalities and hospitalizations due to synthetic cannabinoids. Furthermore, the evidence indicates a direct correlation between recreational cannabis, and public safety, at least as it relates to synthetic cannabinoids.

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