Synthetic Marijuana Hysteria Hits Massachusetts

joint(Photo by Torben Hansen on Flickr.)

It’s spring. That means if your kids aren’t rifling through your medicine cabinet or slamming Purell hand sanitizer, they’re probably doing something else. And now, that something else is synthetic marijuana, which takes the form of a chemical sprayed on something smokeable. Hey, at least they’re not huffing gas.

Then again, both gas and synthetic marijuana share a few things in common: They’re relatively cheap, anyone can buy them, and you can get them at the corner store. Both are also intended for use as something else. In synthetic marijuana’s case, that’s supposedly as incense.

WBUR has a story this morning about the supposed dangers of the drug, but most scientists agree about very little when it comes to synthetic marijuana, and that’s largely because there have been no long-term studies about how it might affect users. Apparently, there are various strains of the stuff, which range in strength, quality, and price, and federal regulators, who have already banned a few iterations of fake pot, are having a hard time keeping up with the underground chemists who make the stuff.

Then again, there are plenty of reports about how and if synthetic marijuana works, like this one from a journalist at The Pitch, a newspaper in Kansas City. (Predictably, the Midwest was upset about this long before it gained any notoriety in the Northeast.) Various product testers had different takes, but no one freaked out.

So why are we freaking out here? Well, kids can’t make their own choices, obviously, and then there’s also the specter of rogue chemists playing with dangerous chemicals who are always a step ahead of law enforcement. Or maybe it’s just spring fever.