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UMd. Study: Synthetic Marijuana More Popular Among Teens Than Most Drugs

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Spice is a synthetic form of marijuana. (Credit: Leon Neal / AFP / Getty Images)

Spice is a synthetic form of marijuana. (Credit: Leon Neal / AFP / Getty Images)

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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Teenagers drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana is nothing new, just watch pretty much any high school movie ever made.

But according to the University of Maryland, College Park’s Center for Substance Abuse Research, a new drug is creeping up in the rankings. A recent study reports that 57 percent of high school students say they drink alcohol, 39 percent say they use marijuana, and 12 percent say they use synthetic marijuana, also called K2 or Spice.

RELATED: D.C. Holding Discussions on Synthetic Marijuana Use

That makes the relatively new drug more popular than prescription pain relievers and stimulants, ecstasy, cocaine, inhalants, cough medicine, crack, methamphetamine and bath salts.

According to the center, synthetic marijuana typically consists of plant material treated with synthetic cannabinoids, designed to stimulate the same receptors in the brain as THC.

RELATED: Maryland Lawmakers Work to Ban Fake Pot

It can be dangerous because studies have shown that the types and amounts of those synthetics can vary between products, and even within the same package. It is very possible that those who use it have no idea what specific synthetic they are consuming or what the effects will be. In general, K2 and Spice have been linked with effects such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, anxiety, agitation, and acute kidney injury.

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