Researchers tell News Radio 1200 WOAI news that the recent spike in people being admitted to Texas hospitals over the past few days with symptoms from using synthetic marijuana shows how quickly the manufacturers of the drug, who are mainly in China, can move to stay ahead of law enforcement.
Dr.. Jane Maxwell at the University of Texas at Austin says while its true that more people are experimenting with the drugs, known generically as 'K-2,' but this flurry of hospital admissions is due to a bad batch of the drugs being circulated in Texas.
"You could go buy four packages of K-2, get them chemically analyzed, and probably wouldn't get the same ingredients," she said.
The use of synthetic chemical marijuana has taken off in recent years, even as authentic pot is becoming more accepted and easier to get. More than 120 people have been rushed to emergency rooms just in the past few days in Texas, after suffering serious side effects after smoking the drug.
Dr. Maxwell says what is happening is, as soon as K-2 manufacturers in China find that one type of the drug has been seized by authorities, they tweak the formula so the next batch is technically not the same.
"This particular batch seems to have really provoked some psychosis," she said.
Symptoms have indicated that this batch of K-2 may have been laced with the chemical PCP. Some users have experienced violent episodes, others have had seizures.
Dr. Maxwell says any time you put chemicals into your body that you don't know what they are or where they came from, you're asking for trouble.
Some of the symptoms may have been compounded by the fact that people smoked the K-2 in 90 plus degree temperatures, which can exacerbate their symptoms.