Over twelve people were taken to emergencies after overdosing on synthetic marijuana, also known as Kush. Authorities say that they are not sure if all of the cases have to do with synthetic marijuana, but it seems to be the case as there are many empty packages in the place of the events.

Hermann Park has been teeming with Kush-related incidents as of late, commented officials from the Houston Fire Department.

Emergency personnel check on a man seated in Hermann Park near the location where at least 12 people were taken to the hospital for a Kush overdose on Thursday, June 23, 2016, in Houston. Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle

Hermann Park’s Kush epidemic

The event occurred around 2 p.m., as 911 calls started flooding in. Emergency specialists were forced to establish a caring post to speed up the arrival of ambulances.

“My fear is this is the first of many of these events for the rest of the summer,” commented head of the emergency department Dr. David Perssie to Click2Houston reporters.

Synthetic marijuana or Kush is currently classified as an illegal substance in a federal range. It comes in attractive packaging, and it has been the epicenter of synthetic drug abuse over the past several years.

Senior Captain Ruy Lozano stated to YourHoustonNews that the area “has notoriously been plagued with people abusing Kush. Many of our firefighters have nicknamed this area as ‘Kush corner.’” He also turned the blame on the heat, since it posed as an additional risk factor for patients suffering from drug overdose.

The state of Texas has already seen the lethal effects of Kush. Back in March, a college student from Dallas bought a gram of synthetic marijuana. He was found dead in his restroom. The cause of death is attributed to the high amount of THC, as it was reportedly enough to “kill a bear.”

A new and fatal drug

Kush has been available in many convenience stores and through online purchase under the label of “legal high.” Supposedly, it is at least 100 times stronger than regular marijuana. It is usually sold as potpourri under the name of Spice, K2 or Kush. Although it is based on common herbs, it has an added compound that resembles the effect of smoked marijuana. It was declared illegal in 2012, but manufacturers were able to circumvent the prohibition by using different chemicals.

Kush cannot be detected through urine tests, and the user cannot know for certain what compounds lie on a single packaging of the drug. Synthetic marijuana has been linked to cases of brain hemorrhage, paralysis, blindness and other terrible conditions. One of the victims led its parents to create Synthetic Awareness for Emily (SAFE) in order to raise awareness for parents and teens concerning the dangers of using Kush.

In contrast, overdosing on regular marijuana is virtually impossible. Contrary to opioid receptors, cannabinoid receptors are not linked to respiration processes, so marijuana overdose is not able to occur. It is estimated that a person would have to smoke forty-thousand joints without rest to die, something that may be deemed possible if users did not fall asleep or get hungry in the process.

Although marijuana has been increasingly gaining legal status, its chemical-based duplicates seem to be a real threat for unwary smokers that look for a “stronger high.”

Source: Click2Houston