I-Team: Emergency rooms see spike in synthetic marijuana use - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

I-Team: Emergency rooms see spike in synthetic marijuana use

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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

Sources confirm to the I-team that in the past 10 days, one local hospital has treated more than 50 patients with complications from Synthetic Marijuana with some of them having to make a second or third follow-up visit.  Normally, hospitals only have a few cases per month.  But now, it's use has spiked.

Synthetic Marijuana has several names it goes by like Mojo, Potpourri and Spice to name a few.  It comes in small packets.

Even though doctors do not know all of its health effects, some of the symptoms related to its use include rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, vomiting, agitation and confusion.

But that's not all.  Some users also report extreme anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and zombie-like feelings.

One former user told the I-team that it is worse than actual Marijuana.  He added the effects are so damaging that Synthetic Marijuana needs to be outlawed.

But making it illegal is a problem in itself.  Last year, Governor Bobby Jindal signed two bills into law.  Problem is, both outlawed specific ingredients in the Synthetic Marijuana and added them to the state's banned substance list.  Before officers could begin enforcing those laws, manufacturers were one step ahead and changed the make-up to legal ingredients.

That's where local law enforcement like BRPD's BRAVE unit runs into problems.  Packets of the street drug seized from stores are sent off to the State Police Crime Lab, but the results come back showing no illegal components.  That means BRPD has now wasted its time and efforts and they're forced to give back everything they initially confiscated.  

The recent spike in Synthetic Marijuana use has spread into neighboring parishes like Livingston, Ascension, West Baton Rouge and East Feliciana to name a few.  Officials are hoping to introduce and pass legislation this session that would serve as a blanket to outlaw all Synthetic Marijuana and not just specific ingredients in it.  

State and local leaders are scheduled to hold a news conference Thursday on many of the issues and its health effects.

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