Over the past few years there has been a huge increase in the sale of synthetic marijuana.  But how safe is?  And should it be illegal?

On Monday I read a story that News Channel 10 ran about synthetic marijuana.  They actually interviewed some owners of a local smoke shop on the dangers of it.  It really shocked me on how the fake marijuana effected them.

They didn't reveal what smoke shop they owned or even their identities, but I'm sure they carry or at least did carry herbal incense in their shop.  Here is what they told News Channel 10:

"They really need to read the package because it says not for human consumption. That right there should tell somebody," one of the smoke shop owners explained. "Retailers don't care. They're going to lie to you and tell you it's safe. They're going to lie to you and say nothing's going to happen to you."

They even told the reporter that they had smoked it and ended up coughing up blood, loss of appetite, and trouble sleeping.

What??? They are sitting here saying that the packages say not for human consumption, yet they themselves smoked it.  So I decided to do a little research myself.

Synthetic marijuana or herbal incense could be anything.  It could be the grass from your backyard.  They take this and spray it with synthetic chemicals that are suppose to mimic THC.  So you are smoking chemicals.

Although it is supposed to mimic THC, it has very different effects in people.  Marijuana highs are often associated with sleepiness, sometimes paranoia, but the symptoms that have been reported about the synthetic version include dizziness, nausea, agitation, abnormally fast heartbeat and hallucinations. Some patients are in a coma, others have heart dysrhythmia .

Not only are the side effects worse but there have been many deaths because of it.  Kids think because it is legal it is safe to smoke.  An eighth grader in Pennsylvania smoke it and needed a double lung transplant.  Then a month after getting it he died.

A28 year old Indiana mother of two smoked 'Spice' and died.

A 16 year old Dallas kid smoked some synthetic marijuana and had a heart attack and died.

A college student smoked some K 2, freaked out and crashed his car into a baby's room.  He too died.

Stories like this are being reported all over the US.  Texas, Iowa, New York, Minnesota all have had deaths due to synthetic marijuana.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported over 1600 calls about synthetic marijuana.  Hundreds and thousands have gone to the emergency room because of the effects.

So it brings me back to the local smoke shops.  With all the incidents and research that has been put out there, should they continue to sell herbal incense?

For the entire interview with local smoke shop owners, you can visit NewsChannel10.com.