Synthetic marijuana ranked in the top three substances abused by the nation's high school students in 2012, according to a new report compiled by the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland, College Park.
The drug -- herbs treated with chemicals designed to mimic the effects of marijuana -- ranked third next to alcohol and marijuana, which 57 percent and 39 percent of students in grades nine through 12 reported using, respectively. About 12 percent of students reported using synthetic marijuana, more than those who used cocaine, ecstasy and prescription pain relievers.
Eric Wish, director of CESAR, said that the federal government has had a hard time cracking down on the rapidly evolving drug. Last summer, President Barack Obama signed a ban on synthetic marijuana and bath salts, a synthetic drug that mimics the effects of cocaine.