Mississippi health officials report that the number of hospitalizations and emergency room visits due to the use of  synthetic cannabinoids continue to grow in the state.

Spice Diamond Image/DEA
Spice Diamond

Since April 2, 2015, 97 cases of emergency room visits and hospitalizations  linked to “Spice” or “Mojo” use have been reported to the Mississippi Poison Control Center. More than 20 counties throughout the state are reporting emergency room admissions from this dangerous synthetic drug designed to mimic the effects of marijuana.

According to State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs, there is no safe amount of “Spice” consumption. The effects from using it are unpredictable and adverse outcomes are common, even leading to death in some cases.

“Spice is an unregulated drug. We are seeing people become extremely ill with even the tiniest amount of use. There is absolutely no safe level of inhalation. This is an incredibly dangerous drug and needs to be taken very seriously.”

Spice, or synthetic marijuana is not a natural product. It is an unsafe mixture of plant products and chemicals that have powerful effects on the mind and body. Spice products contain unpredictable chemicals in unregulated amounts, with more extreme health effects than marijuana. Typical symptoms are: Severe agitation, hyperactivity and anxiety; racing heartbeat and higher blood pressure; muscle spasms, seizures, and tremors; intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes and coma.

Users of synthetic marijuana can experience these symptoms or others, in varying strength. Because there is no control of the types or amount of chemicals it contains, users have no way of knowing what they are ingesting.

Spice products go by many names: K2, Mojo, Skunk, Spice Diamond, Moon Rocks and Yucatan Fire, to name a few. They resemble shredded plants or potpourri and are usually labeled “not for human consumption” to avoid regulation. Some may be sold as incense.