Calls to poison control spike over 'spice'

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Also known as "spice," synthetic marijuana has led to a "record number" of emergency calls to poison control centers this year, ABC News reports.

According to the CDC, emergency calls over the drug rose 229 percent compared to last year.  That number totals 3,572 calls made between January and May of this year, compared to only 1,085 calls made last year, the agency said. Most calls were made by men in their twenties. Many suffered from bad reactions from the drug, most commonly increased heart rate, vomiting and drowsiness. But more than 11 percent of callers had a reaction that was "life-threatening, disabling or disfiguring," ABC News reports.

“You don’t know what you’re getting,” he said to ABC News. “People they come in agitated [or] really, really sleepy, where they have to be intubated or put on a mechanical ventilator.”

Although doctors are aware of how THC in marijuana affects the body, Hoyte said synthetic marijuana can have a wide range of effects on people -- often because of the contaminants 'spice'  can contain. Opioids, heavy metals and prescriptions drugs are known to reside in different types of synthetic marijuana. This has caused some people to have heart attacks or seizures, Hoyte said to ABC News.

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