Over three dozen people were treated for synthetic weed overdoses in New Jersey earlier this week. The spate of overdoses began on Monday morning in Newark, New Jersey, at Newark Penn Station. Authorities say that the toll of overdoses is at 37 so far.
New Jersey’s Problem With K2 Synthetic Weed
According to reports, County EMS rushed to the train station and transported victims to local hospitals.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time an incident like this occurred in the Garden State. Back in April, twelve people were diagnosed with overdose symptoms from synthetic marijuana.
Despite its name, synthetic cannabis—otherwise known as K2 or “spice”—is vastly different from its apparent namesake. While weed as we know it is derived from the cannabis plant, spice is anything but. Mostly sold in corner stores for incredibly cheap, synthetic weed consists of dried herbs sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids.
Because of its low cost and strong psychoactive effects, there’s been a notable rise of K2 use over the past few years, especially among homeless populations. But despite its name, it’s not nearly as safe to use as traditional cannabis.
While it’s virtually impossible to die from weed, the synthetic materials in K2 are downright lethal and have been known to cause kidney damage, rapid heart rate, and seizures. As per the 2016 Global Drug Survey, “synthetic cannabinoids more likely to lead to emergency medical treatment than any other drug.”
It also found that those who use spice over regular marijuana are 30 times more likely to seek medical attention.
While statistics on casualties from K2 overdoses in New Jersey are hazy, the deaths of at least 20 people have been linked to the drug, according to a recent article in HuffPost.
Final Hit: 37 People Treated For K2 Synthetic Weed Overdoses In New Jersey
The wave of overdoses comes mere weeks after New Jersey Senator Cory Booker made moves to legalize weed by introducing a revolutionary new bill. Notably, Booker called for cannabis to be declassified as a Schedule I drug.
There is no telling what impact this week’s synthetic marijuana overdoses will have on the state’s push to legitimize weed. Despite the major differences between the two, there is a possibility that these two events will be linked by detractors.
Authorities are still asking for any information on the cause of the overdoses from the public at large. Authorities have not reported any fatalities so far.