Every dangerous drug has its own archive of horror stories involving its users, abusers and addicts. Synthetic drugs, however, are in a league of their own as far as horrific tales are concerned. In a nutshell, most incidents that involve synthetic drugs—synthetic marijuana in particular—are marked not so much by the consequences of repeated or prolonged use, but by the sudden and often unpredictable nature of its effects, which sometimes set in even after just ONE hit. That makes more synthetic marijuana more dangerous than ice, heroin or any of the “traditional” drugs we have all come to despise, as the synthetic marijuana horror stories we are featuring in this piece would attest.
Before we delve into the synthetic marijuana horror stories listed below, let us first take a closer look at the drug and see why it poses such a danger to anyone who uses it.
What is synthetic marijuana?
Synthetic marijuana is one of the three common types of synthetic drugs, which are officially referred to as new psychoactive substances or NPS. Made from dried plant material and chopped up herbs, synthetic marijuana, like other NPS, is designed to mimic delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in ‘traditional’ marijuana. To achieve that, the makers of synthetic marijuana spray the plant material and herbs with synthetic chemical compounds. Users usually smoke synthetic marijuana, although they are sometimes ingested as a tea.
The thing with the chemical compounds sprayed onto the plant material is that no one really knows what they are. And when authorities do identify those compounds and ban them promptly, the makers of synthetic marijuana stay one step ahead of them by simply replacing that banned compound with another, unknown man-made compound, and so on.
These chemical compounds are what make synthetic cannabis one of the deadliest drugs in the market right now, and we have the synthetic marijuana horror stories to prove it.
1. Connor Eckhardt
His story has become one of the top cautionary tales regarding synthetic marijuana. A fit and healthy 19-year-old from California, Eckhardt took just ONE HIT of ‘Spice’ and was declared brain-dead in the hospital. He died a few days later, and his parents donated his organs in accordance with his wishes.
2. Synthetic marijuana kills two Queensland men
Early this year, two men from Mackay died in unrelated incidents after smoking a particularly bad batch of synthetic marijuana, packaged this time as “Full Moon” tea.
3. Ex-marijuana addict commits suicide after prolonged synthetic marijuana use
Kelly Walsh, a mother from Tamworth, blames the suicide death of his only son on synthetic marijuana. Ironically, he began smoking synthetic cannabis shortly after successfully beating an addiction to traditional marijuana. Before her son claimed his own life, she witnessed a drastic change in her son’s behaviour, like erupting into yelling fits and spitting on her face as she pacified him.
4. Teenager drowns in pond, synthetic marijuana blamed
The mother of Quinton Reed Bryant, 16, said her son was smoking synthetic marijuana shortly before his body was found floating in a pond in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The county coroner ruled his death as accidental drowning.
5. Man high on synthetic marijuana shakes baby to death
Matthew Evans, of Dunmore, Pennsylvania, had been smoking “Spice”, a synthetic marijuana brand, when he was tasked with babysitting his girlfriend’s 2-month old son in December 2011. As the infant, Jayden Cohen, went on a crying fit like babies usually do, Evans picked him up and began to shake him violently. The child eventually died more than a week later.
6. Synthetic marijuana-using U.S. Marine stabs fellow U.S. Marine
Michael Poth, a US Marine who previously tested positive for synthetic marijuana use, fatally stabbed Philip Bushong, a fellow Marine during an altercation near Capitol Hill’s Barracks Row in April 2012.
7. Teen dies after slamming car into a house at 100mph while high on synthetic marijuana
Before slamming his car into a suburban home, Aurora, Illinois teenager Max Dobner phoned his older brother and told him he was freaking out, 15 minutes after smoking synthetic marijuana bearing the “iAroma” brand, which he bought for $12 at a local mall. He died at the scene of the crash.
8. Man smoked synthetic marijuana before shooting pregnant fiancée in the face
Joshua Tyler McKeel of St. Martinville, Illinois, entered a plea of not guilty in the shooting death of Hannah Parker, who was pregnant with their child. McKeel claimed he was smoking synthetic marijuana before the shooting, and that the act rendered him temporarily insane.
9. Teenage girl stabbed dead by synthetic marijuana-using friend
Jasmyn Tully was found in an apartment in Tukwila, Washington, bleeding from a stab wound to the neck. She eventually died, and police arrested a suspect, a 17-year-old male friend who lived in the apartment. Tully’s friend told police he had ‘felt an urge to hurt someone’, and an uncle reported that his nephew had smoked synthetic marijuana and blacked out.
10. 120 synthetic marijuana overdoses in 5 days
Two or more overdose cases in a day are bad enough. More than a hundred cases in 5 days is simply a disaster. In a span of just five days, nearly 120 people in Dallas and Austin overdosed on K2, one of the many brands of synthetic marijuana. The Dallas patients had it really bad, as many of them had to be sedated before they can be given treatment.
These are just some of the numerous synthetic marijuana horror stories out there, and there will likely be more, what with many countries still allowing its sale legally. While the Australian government has already banned its manufacture and sale in any way, shape or form, they still somehow find their way towards users. Given how easily synthetic marijuana makers change the ingredients of their product, it will definitely take more time for the authorities to finally rid the country of this drug. For now, the only other way to help curb synthetic marijuana use is to spread awareness about its dangers, which are far greater than the traditional marijuana it purports to mimic.