David Davis, a registered nurse who is director of the Emergency Services and Trauma Unit for Genesis, said personnel at the hospitals have seen several cases relating to k2 incense, synthetic marijuana an bath salts in the past few months — the latest being Thursday night.
“Patients are coming in agitated, vomiting, in seizures, paranoid or having hallucinations,” Davis said. “The reactions are similar to those when ingesting the bath salts that seem to be on the rise.”
Bath salts have caused a number of medical problems in the community, to the point that Frazeysburg passed an ordinance banning them this past week. The state also has banned them, but as with synthetic marijuana, the law will take 90 days to go into effect.
Mad Hatter comes in 3-gram, green packages, which are clearly marked “not for human consumption.” The package also states the manufacturer is not responsible for misuse. Yet people are ingesting and smoking the leafy substance that costs about $25 per pack.
Dr. Marcel Casavant, of the Central Ohio Poison Control Center in Columbus, said Ohio and the rest of the nation has seen an increase in people having adverse reactions from ingesting k2 incense.
“It makes people crazy,” Casavant said. “We’ve seen them come in our emergency rooms agitated, their heart rates are spinning, they’re vomiting, having hallucinations. Sometimes it takes sedatives to calm them down.”
Casavant also knows of one case in which a patient was in a coma.
“We’ve not had any reported deaths, but I would say that synthetic marijuana products may kill you,” Casavant said.
In 2010, there were 2,874 calls nationally to poison control centers related to synthetic marijuana, and in Ohio, there were 36 cases. Through the end of May 2011, there were 2,052 cases reported nationally and 26 in Ohio.
“We did see a decrease in cases at the end of last year, but they jumped again in the past couple of months,” Casavant said. “This is a completely different substance than marijuana. We don’t see the types of effects from marijuana as we’re seeing with this product. It’s a very, very serious and dangerous product.”