Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Synthetic Marijuana

One of the more important New England Patriots had a medical emergency that seems to be connected to the use of synthetic marijuana.  There are lots of directions to go, but I'll pick the ones I like.

Most ER's don't test for synthetic marijuana, and if you know that the NFL doesn't either, there is some sense in not using regular weed to get to sleep going into the playoffs. If it's not a banned substance, then it's not going to cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The other consideration, that synthetic marijuana is much more risky and "worse for your body" than the regular stuff probably has a different meaning to a person who makes his living banging into other large people and getting injured. "Worse," as my brother Jonathan is fond of saying, has a flexible set of meanings.  Compared to what? is a fair question.

As for the Foxboro PD "covering up" the incident, it's not much of a cover when everyone knows about it immediately, is it?  In spot decisions, individuals and institutions have a side they are going to err on. If the Foxboro PD decides it is going to err on the side of not jumping to conclusions and publicly embarrassing people, even when they are pretty sure they deserve it, that's not a bad thing.  If someone is having a drug-like emergency and drugs are found on his counter, it is certainly the most likely thing that hey, he's having some drug reaction.  

Yet not always.  I have seen some pretty obvious situations suddenly flip many times in my career, and I'm betting that ER doctors and nurses have seen more.  Of course your first guess, which you sniffed out before you even saw the patient, is most likely to be true.  You have seen many cases and this is your skill set. But one is always ready to suddenly reverse field because a new bit of information comes in.  The Swiss au pair turns out to be a drug addict after all, and was the owner of the drugs.  The small 13 year-old actually is the sexual perpetrator against the large 19 year-old* in this one case (though the law remains what it is).

Being protective and not telling the media everything is a perfectly good response.  If someone is guilty, that can usually be revealed just as well later as sooner.  There's no hurry.

*Short explanation:  Sociopath vs Downs Syndrome.


Texan99 said...

Is the synthetic stuff more dangerous? In my whole life I've never even met anyone who had an alarming physical impact from pot. Alcohol-related illness is so commonplace it barely gets a mention.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

In general, yes. It has almost nothing to recommend it except that it does not show up on drug screens. It provides an unreliable high, is associated with more side effects, and precipitates psychosis far more frequently.

jaed said...

I hadn't even realized it was a thing - I thought when you mentioned it that it was Marinol (THC) - but no, apparently the only reason it's called "synthetic marijuana" is that it tickles the same receptors as THC.