SAN ANTONIO - In the last two weeks, paramedics and hospital have been busier than normal dealing with people who have overdosed on synthetic cannabinoids.
San Antonio Fire Department’s Medical Director Dr. David A. Miramontes wants to clarify a common myth.
"The main thing that we are pushing out is that this is not marijuana,” Miramontes says. “This is dangerous."
The drug that's causing problems on the streets starts in a lab. A synthetic compound, chemically related to the marijuana plant which contains THC, is sprayed on dried plants and sold, sometimes as a drug, sometimes as potpourri.
No matter the marketing, the drug is dangerous and illegal in Texas.
"The problem that we are seeing is the high dosage. (Users) become psychotic, agitated and violent," said Miramontes.
SAFD Chief Charles Hood is watching the rise in overdoes with the number of EMS units responding in the center city.
"The synthetic cannabis outbreak that we have seen recently is concern enough for us to warn the public about those dangers," said Hood.
Together, officials with the South Texas Poison Center and the San Antonio Fire Department are sending out the public warning.
Overdoses are on the rise downtown, especially within the homeless population.
"Our kids and unsuspecting people who purchase this may not know what they're getting and get themselves in trouble really quick," says Miramontes
Those same health officials say if you or anybody else you know is suffering from side affects from using synthetics cannibinoids, you may want to call 911.
The man-made drugs can have synthetic THC levels 20 percent higher than normal marijuana according to health officials.