Teen Almost Dies After Smoking Synthetic Pot

Teen Almost Dies After Smoking Synthetic PotHospital staff removed Emily Bauer’s breathing tube and stopped all medication and nourishment at 1:15 p.m. December 16. Only morphine flowed into her body, as the family waited by her side in her final moments. But the next morning, she was still alive.

‘Legal alternative to weed’

Her family said the drug that landed the Cypress, Texas, teenager, then 16, in the ICU two weeks earlier wasn’t bought from a dealer or offered to her at a party. It was a form of synthetic weed packaged as “potpourri” that she and friends bought at a gas station.

Best known by the street names “Spice” or “K2,” fake weed is an herbal mixture sprayed with chemicals that’s meant to create a high similar to smoking marijuana, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Advertised as a “legal” alternative to weed, it’s often sold as incense or potpourri and in most states, it’s anything but legal. Who wound up in the emergency room the most? Children ages 12 to 17.

Common side effects to smoking synthetic marijuana include bloodshot eyes, disturbed perceptions and a change in mood, said Dr. Melinda Campopiano, a medical officer with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


‘A fight for life’

Three days after pulling life support, the Bauer family marked a day they didn’t think they would: Emily’s 17th birthday. Each day since has been a fight — a fight to move a finger, a fight to whisper something to her family, a fight for life, according to her big sister. Her stepfather, Tommy Bryant, who has been in Emily’s life since he saw her in the delivery room, hopes he can spare other people his family’s pain.

Bryant and his family are starting a nonprofit organizationcalled Synthetic Awareness For Emily. Their goal with SAFE is to educate families, as well as teachers and doctors, about the dangers and warning signs of synthetic marijuana use. Bryant said he has filed the paper work and is waiting to hear from the federal government on reviewing their nonprofit application.

Do you know someone who uses synthetic weed? Feel free to share your opinions regarding Emily Bauer’s story.

Source: Christina Zdanowicz, CNN

Image: The CW 2

Black Mamba Venom Makes A Great Painkiller Without Side Effects

A painkiller as powerful as morphine, but without most of the side-effects, has been found in the deadly venom of the black mamba, say French scientists.

The predator, which uses neurotoxins to paralyse and kill small animals, is one of the fastest and most dangerous snakes in Africa. However, tests on mice, reported in the journal Nature, showed its venom also contained a potent painkiller. They admit to being completely baffled about why the mamba would produce it.

The researchers looked at venom from 50 species before they found the black mamba’s pain-killing proteins – called mambalgins. Dr Eric Lingueglia, from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology near Nice, told the BBC: “When it was tested in mice, the analgesia was as strong as morphine, but you don’t have most of the side-effects.”


Morphine acts on the opioid pathway in the brain. It can cut pain, but it is also addictive and causes headaches, difficulty thinking, vomiting and muscle twitching. The researchers say mambalgins tackle pain through a completely different route, which should produce few side-effects. He said the way pain worked was very similar in mice and people, so he hoped to develop painkillers that could be used in the clinic. Tests on human cells in the laboratory have also showed the mambalgins have similar chemical effects in people.

Dr Nicholas Casewell, an expert in snake venom at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, suggested the analgesic effect may work in combination “with other toxins that prevent the prey from getting away” or may just affect different animals, such as birds, differently to mice.

Do you think a painkiller from black mamba venom could hold a lot of promise? Feel free to comment on this new medical discovery!

Source: BBC News

Image: Planet Animal Zone