DENVER (AP) — Synthetic marijuana is believed to have sickened 221 people in Colorado during a monthlong outbreak this year, according to a federal report released Thursday.
The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is based on a joint investigation with state health officials launched after Colorado hospitals started seeing an increase in emergency room visits by people who had used synthetic pot in late August.
Investigators found two new variants of synthetic marijuana in Colorado, ADBICA and ADB-PINACA, the latter of which was linked to a similar outbreak in Georgia in August. State health officials and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation are trying to determine whether the strains contributed to the illnesses.
While real marijuana is legal in Colorado, synthetic marijuana — dried plant material sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids — is illegal. Other states and the federal government have also attempted to ban it, but regulators have had a hard time keeping up with its latest chemical makeup. Synthetic pot, which first appeared in the United States in 2009, is also referred to as "spice" and sold under a variety of brand names in colorful wrappers. Continue Reading...