2 synthetic marijuana batches landing users in Denver hospitals

This synthetic marijuana paraphernalia was seized from a Denver SunMart in 2012. (Photo: Denver Police)

This synthetic durg paraphernalia was seized from a Denver SunMart in 2012. (Photo: Denver Police)

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DENVER — The University of Colorado Hospital was warning marijuana users about two particular batches of synthetic marijuana on Thursday, after they say their hospital and others in the Denver Metro area have seen a spike in patients.

The numbers of new patients seemed to grow by the hour for a while Thursday.

According to hospital spokesperson Dan Weaver, the director the CU Hospital’s emergency department, Dr. Rich Zane, said 20 “very ill” patients have required treatment in the last 24 hours due to a reaction from “Spice” and/or “Black Mamba.” Weaver said those are two named batches of synthetic marijuana.

“Dr. Zane says other emergency rooms in the Denver area are also seeing numerous patients,” Weaver said. “He thinks there might be a bad batch of the drugs in the community.”

The Medical Center of Aurora also confirmed they were treating a large number of ER patients for exposure to synthetic marijuana, saying they has seen 15 such patients since Monday and four in the last 24 hours.

Weaver did not give any indication of whether the two batches of synthetic marijuana are being sold legally at a local dispensary. However, most have speculated that synthetic marijuana will remain illegal in Colorado even after the passage of Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana for recreational use for individuals over the age of 21.

Synthetic marijuana is typically comprised of herbs and a chemical that produces side effects similar to those produced by THC, the active ingredient in natural marijuana.

However, doctors have warned that the side effects associated with synthetic marijuana can be much more severe. One often-cited cautionary tale involves a Texas 16-year-old who went brain dead after using the substance.

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