(NaturalNews) The U.S. government's needless prohibition of all-natural marijuana has driven some users to seek out legal alternatives like "Spice" or "K2," two synthetic, chemical-laden varieties of "legal marijuana" that contain chemical copycats of the active ingredient in real marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). But these imitators are highly toxic, as was made apparent in a recent illness outbreak in Wyoming where more than a dozen young people required hospitalization for organ damage and other problems.
Reuters reports that at least three users of blueberry-flavored Spice suffered kidney failure and had to be hospitalized recently, and that at least 12 others had to be hospitalized for other health complications that included severe back pain and vomiting. And those with kidney failure are reportedly still in very poor health, which has led health officials to warn the public that the consequences of smoking Spice and other fake marijuana substances are potentially life-threatening.
"At this point, we are viewing use of this drug as a potentially life-threatening situation," said Tracy Murphey, Wyoming's state epidemiologist, in a recent statement.
Adding to this, Bob Herrington, director of the Casper-Natrona County Health Department told reporters that local law enforcement and health officials are very concerned for public safety because "the three people with kidney failure are in pretty serious shape; they're very sick."
In a study published last December in the journal Pediatrics, researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas explained some of the many dangers associated with smoking synthetic cannabinoids. Besides kidney failure, these researchers highlighted the cases of three 16-year-old boys that reportedly suffered heart attacks after smoking K2 (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com).
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has attempted to curb the use of synthetic cannabinoid drugs by implementing a one-year "emergency" ban on five specific varieties. But with many hundreds of varieties available on the market, such efforts have had little positive effect. And interestingly enough, the synthetic THC chemical used in many of these products, JWH-018, was originally created in a lab for pharmaceutical interests seeking to patent their own version of THC (http://www.naturalnews.com/030156_marijuana_prohibition_spice.html).
So the situation here is really one of a federal bias against pure, natural marijuana that has led users, mostly in the younger age categories, to seek out synthetic alternatives that could kill them. Not to be mistaken as an endorsement for the underage use of marijuana, this fact is merely meant to highlight how the government's "War on Drugs" has eliminated access to a natural, safe product, and consequently created a black market for a synthetic, deadly product.