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More Than 40 Treated For Synthetic Marijuana Use

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"Spice" is a synthetic, legal form of marijuana labeled "not for human consumption," but young people are smoking it to get high. (credit: CBS)

“Spice” is a synthetic, legal form of marijuana labeled “not for human consumption,” but young people are smoking it to get high. (credit: CBS)

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DENVER (AP/CBS4) — Denver-area hospitals are seeing a rise in emergency cases involving synthetic marijuana, which can cause confusion, violent behavior and hallucinations.

The University of Colorado Hospital has seen about 40 patients. Denver Health and the Medical Center of Aurora also report increased cases in recent weeks.

Patient reactions include jumping off ledges or into traffic and lashing out at first responders.

“In some of the patients we have seen if they hadn’t had emergency medical care, hadn’t been brought to the ER and someone had not called 911 they could have died,” said University Hospital Resident Elaine Reno.

Synthetic marijuana is illegal but often is used because it can be difficult to detect in urine tests. Doctors warn it includes undisclosed chemicals that pose a danger. Treatment can last days.

Synthetic products are available online. Hospital say the recent influx of patients suggests a bad batch is circulating in the area or that chemists are producing a more dangerous strain.

So far no one has died but others are struggling to survive and are on life support.

It’s unclear if all the cases are related.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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