KENNEWICK, Wash. - Synthetic marijuana has become a popular alternative to smoking pot in recent years. But doctors say it's dangerous. Especially as they see more people seeking emergency treatment after using it.
The drug can't be detected on drug screens, which is good for the user but a real problem for medical professionals.
It's marketed as potpourri or natural herbs and is sprayed with a chemical that's meant to mimic the effects of smoking marijuana. That chemical is proving dangerous, though. More people are showing up in the emergency room with symptoms like psychosis, agitation or even cardiac arrest.
ER doctors said the users aren't always up front with them.
"They can't be detected in a urine drug screen. so we don't know when people are using this without extensive testing. But in the simple tests that are available in most emergency rooms, we can't discover it or detect it," said Kennewick General Hospital E.R. Doctor Louis Koussa.
He said not being honest with the doctor makes treatment even more difficult. Because so little is known about what these drugs are doing to your body, Dr. Koussa said the best advice is to steer clear of it completely.