The legalization, use and distribution of Marijuana have always been hot topics across the Nation. The plant, which is natural, has psychoactive elements that the Federal Government deemed unsafe for use and consumption. Now states are facing the issue of synthetic marijuana and its effects and whether the substance should be made illegal.

Marijuana has always been an issue for debate in the United States, from its physical effects, and mental effects on users, to its distribution methods. Since Marijuana is illegal in most states and the consequences of using and possessing the substance are substantial it has lead to the rise of substitutes such as synthetic marijuana. The synthetic knock off and chemically enhanced substance has many states wondering whether the substance should be made illegal.

Synthetic marijuana is legal in a number of states and can be purchased legally on the internet or local stores. The synthetic knock off and chemically enhanced substance has a number of different names but is best known as Spice or K2. Since 2006, it has been sold as incense or potpourri and usually sells for thirty to forty dollars a bag.

Spice is a mixture of herbal and spice plant products that are then spray coated with strong psychotropic ingredients. Unlike Marijuana which is a plant that naturally produces THC, Spice is not all natural and the chemicals used can be harmful. Symptoms may include hallucinations, severe agitation, seizures, anxiety, increase in heart rate and blood pressure as well as vomiting.
So far fifteen states have banned the sale of Spice. Also in regards to spice, there have been numerous hospital reports claiming people have overdosed on the drug and have had adverse symptoms.

While debates on the legalization of marijuana will continue, here is a general overview of substance abuse deaths.



An estimated six million people worldwide died from smoking-related illnesses in 2010, according to the annual Tobacco Atlas report from the American Cancer Society.

"Tobacco accounts for one out of every 10 deaths worldwide and will claim 5.5 million lives this year alone," the study said, predicting that current trends indicate that tobacco-related deaths could top 8 million annually by 2030.

Reuters reported Aug. 25 that the report also estimated the annual cost of tobacco use to societies globally at $500 million, including healthcare expenses, decreased productivity, and harm to the environment. Researchers estimated that tobacco decreases the world's overall gross domestic product (GDP) by 3.6 percent.

"One hundred million people were killed by tobacco in the 20th century," the report said. "Unless effective measures are implemented to prevent young people from smoking and to help current smokers quit, tobacco will kill 1 billion people in the 21st century."

The Tobacco Atlas said that there are 1 billion male smokers worldwide and 250 million female smokers, and that tobacco kills one-third to one-half of those who smoke.



MSNBC reports that alcohol abuse kills some 75,000 Americans each year and shortens the lives of these people by an average of 30 years, a U.S. government study suggested Thursday.

Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States after tobacco use and poor eating and exercise habits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which published the study, estimated that 34,833 people in 2001 died from cirrhosis of the liver, cancer and other diseases linked to drinking too much beer, wine and spirits.

Another 40,933 died from car crashes and other mishaps caused by excessive alcohol use.

Researchers considered any man who averaged more than two drinks per day or more than four drinks per occasion to be an excessive drinker. For women it was more than one drink per day or more than three drinks per occasion.



Now you may be asking yourself, where does marijuana stand among substance abuse deaths and here you have it! Marijuana is not responsible for a single death! Through its history marijuana has not be a leading factor in the death of a single person.!

The following is an article from with information about marijuana and its effects.

Marijuana smoking isn't harmless, but at least it won't kill you.

It's been feared that marijuana smoke, like tobacco smoke, causes cancer and heart disease. The evidence argues otherwise, writes Stephen Sidney, MD, associate director for research for Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif., in the Sept 20 issue of The British Medical Journal.

"Although the use of [marijuana] is not harmless, the current knowledge base does not support the assertion that it has any notable adverse public health impact in relation to mortality," Sidney concludes.

No Marijuana Deaths in 2 Large Studies

Sidney points to two large studies. The first is from (where else?) California. A large HMO looked at 65,177 men and women age 15-49. Over 10 years, marijuana users died no sooner than nonusers.

The second study looked at 45,450 Swedish army conscripts. They were 18-20 years old when asked about marijuana use. Fifteen years later, the marijuana users were just as likely to remain alive as nonusers.

And since marijuana smoking can't kill outright -- there's no such thing as a fatal marijuana overdose -- short-term use isn't deadly. Long-term use can't be good for you. But Sidney notes that most marijuana smokers don't become long-term users.

One worry about marijuana smoke is that it is inhaled, and held, deep in the lungs. But the typical user smokes only one marijuana cigarette -- or less -- a day. Tobacco users often smoke 20 or more cigarettes daily. Moreover, tobacco contains nicotine, a highly addictive substance. Marijuana, Sidney concludes, is less likely to harm than tobacco.

A 2001 study suggested that marijuana smoking increases the risk of heart attack in the hour immediately after smoking. But this seems to be the case in no more than one-fifth of 1% of heart attacks -- a very rare risk indeed.

A great chart with the Nations leading causes of death can be found here:

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