U.S. Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) this week sent letters to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) asking for an expedited review and analysis of herbal smoking blends treated with synthetic cannabinoids, commonly known as K2, Spice, Demon or Genie.
"So far this year, poison control centers in the U.S. have received in excess of 600 calls related to the use of this synthetic drug, up from just 13 reports in 2009. No one is certain what is in the drug or its health impacts and it is time we know for sure," said LeMieux.
Senator LeMieux's letter states, in part:
"In light of the surge in adverse reports associated with use of these products, efforts by multiple states to ban its sale, and an overall lack of information regarding the extent of abuse and illicit distribution, expedited analysis by DEA and HHS is warranted."
BACKGROUND: "Spice' is an herbal drug treated with synthetic cannabinoids, which causes hallucinogenic effects similar to marijuana. Reported side effects include panic attacks, heart palpitations, hallucinations, delusions, vomiting, increased agitation and other symptoms. Several states and localities have taken steps to ban the chemical compound found in "Spice' and similar products.