Last year I wrote about the nightmarish scenarios that are sometimes found in cities without regulated cannabis programs, in which people sometimes resort to using synthetic cannabis, resulting in some Walking Dead behavior. No, for real—make a list of top 10 zombie-like behavioral traits, and aside from eating human brains, all the boxes are checked. (We aren't going to delve into cases where users are accused of having eaten the faces of their victims while under the influence, because with all that is going on in our country right now, I just can't even.) "But zombielike behavior is where we top out, right?" you ask nervously. "Surely there isn't a worse side effect from synthetic cannabis than that?"
Oh, bless your ever optimistic heart....
For those who don't feel that present-day life is enough of a shiver-inducing horror show best viewed behind sweaty hands covering our faces, I have great news! For the rest of us, not so much.
The 14-word headline of this Gizmodo piece sums it up nicely: "The Outbreak of Severe Bleeding Caused by Synthetic Weed Has Now Spread Beyond Illinois."
"Okay, right—so, I'm on board with severe bleeding very rarely being a positive thing," you say nervously, "but how severe are we talking about here, exactly?" According to the article, "bleeding from your eyes, nose, gums, or ears, or heavy bleeding during a period" are just a few potential results from using synthetic weed, which can result in hospitalization. While this particular fresh circle of hell started in Illinois, it's now spread to Maryland. As of last week, there had been a reported
89 cases, with two resulting deaths. [UPDATE, WED 4/11: Illinois health officials say there are now more than a hundred cases and three deaths.]
Synthetic cannabis, which is not craft in any sense of the word, is cobbled together using ever-changing formulations, so as to stay ahead of ever-changing state and federal bans of potential ingredients. (Sort of like Whack-a-Mole, except people are severely bleeding from their eyes and ears, and then maybe die.)
Every time a prohibitionist talks about the dangers of having a regulated cannabis program, it's worth asking what they find preferable—that, or synthetic cannabis created with a rotating ingredients list that most recently included rat poison, that results in zombie-like behavior, severe bleeding, and potential death. Furthermore, there isn't any form of synthetic cannabis tax that gets collected to help fund programs like schools, public safety, and drug and alcohol treatment services.
And to the prohibitionists who insist there isn't any difference between the two? Please allow me to meet up with you and provide you with a bowl of each, at no charge, and we can see where you stand post consumption, provided you still can stand and aren't mortally bleeding out.