Dangers of synthetic marijuana - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Dangers of synthetic marijuana

MADISON (WKOW) -- A local doctor says he's seen the number of emergency room visits, related to synthetic marijuana, go up in the last couple of years.

Medical experts say this is something parents and young teens need to watch out for.

Nationally, children ages 12 to 17 have the best chance of being exposed to this powerful drug. It's a drug so powerful its forced young children into the emergency room because of a stroke or heart attack. Those are extreme cases, but it still can happen.

Synthetic marijuana, best known as "spice" or "K2." is an herbal mixture sprayed with chemicals that's meant to create a high similar to smoking marijuana.

Medical experts say symptoms include: high blood pressure, changes in mental status, confusion, paranoia, anxiety and hallucinations.

Dr. Brian Mamerow, an emergency room physician, says it's the second most commonly abused drug among high school students.

Dr. Mamerow says when patients come into the emergency room and have smoked this drug, it can be hard to treat them. He says that's because patients won't always say they took the drug and he has to treat the symptoms alone.

Dr. Mamerow says in some cases children get the substance from the Internet and sometimes gas stations, but in Wisconsin there is legislation banning those substances. At least 41 states and Puerto Rico have legislatively banned synthetic marijuana.

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