Highs & Lows: Part Two

By KBJR News 1

February 12, 2013 Updated Feb 13, 2013 at 12:41 PM CDT

(NNCNOW.com)-- It's a scary scenario to think about; losing touch with reality and being unsure when or if clarity will re-surface.

But it has become very real for some consumers of synthetic marijuana.

"Fast heartbeat, dangerously elevated blood pressure, agitation, anxiety, pale skin, vomiting, numbness, tickling, and in some cases severe paranoia, hallucinations, and in some cases seizures."

The list of the negative side effects of incense is as long as the line at Last Place on Earth.

"The presumption that these products are safe lulls people into an extreme case of false security," said Dennis Cummings with the Duluth Bethel.

Those on the front lines of battling synthetic marijuana addiction are starting to notice a disturbing trend.

"These substances are extremely dangerous, we do not know the long term effects on these drugs, a dramatic change, and sometimes the change is forever."

Some addicts are so far gone, and are having a hard time coming back.

"The irrational thinking has been there months after they use and it still remains," said Laurie Hull, Detox Director for the Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment.

Multiple treatment centers are reporting patients with possible irreversible psychosis.

"There have been patients admitted into hospitals and mental health wards in psychosis where they are being treated for psychosis and not coming out of psychosis even with medications like anti-psychotics," said Julie Seitz, Clinical Director for the Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, psychosis can be delusional behavior, and or hallucinations.

"We are seeing the psychosis, the erratic, irrational behavior. The inability to form or process thoughts and feelings," said Seitz.

Although little to no research has gone into the effects of incense on the body and mind, those treating the addicts come to a similar conclusion.

"It's a dangerous circumstance because there are so many unknowns, because of the false sense of security," said Cummings.

"We are seeing more people using it and what's more interesting is we are seeing people coming to treatment with it as their drug of choice." said Seitz.

They say it's a problem that is getting worse every day.

Last Place on Earth owner Jim Carlson is facing 54 counts in a federal indictment including mislabeling the incense he sells.
lthough state and federal law has made synthetic marijuana illegal, Last Place continues to sell it seven days a week.