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Teenage girl is left brain-damaged and blind after smoking synthetic marijuana she bought in a gas station and suffering series of strokes

Former life: Seventeen-year-old Emily Bauer started experiencing severe migraines in December, after smoking a synthetic weed she had bought from a gas station

  • Emily Bauer, 17, bought the substance from a gas station
  • She suffered a series of strokes which left her in a psychotic-like state
  • Nearly two months later, she is blind and dependent on family and nurses
  • Family hopes to raise awareness of the dangers of the legal drug

A teenage girl has narrowly avoided death after smoking 'synthetic marijuana' that she bought from a gas station and suffering a series of strokes.

Seventeen-year-old Emily Bauer, from Cypress, Texas, has been left with brain damage, paralysis and is unable to see after taking the synthetic weed with friends last December.

Her family is now hoping to raise awareness of the dangers of the substance, which is often labelled as 'potpourri', while campaigners battle for stricter laws to make it illegal across the country.

Fake weed, which is also known as 'Spice' or 'K2', is an herbal mixture doused with chemicals that trigger a high similar to smoking marijuana, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Former life: Seventeen-year-old Emily Bauer started experiencing severe migraines in December, after smoking a synthetic weed she had bought from a gas station

Former life: Seventeen-year-old Emily Bauer started experiencing severe migraines in December, after smoking a synthetic weed she had bought from a gas station

It is often sold as incense or potpourri, and is advertised as a legal alternative to weed. While many states have outlawed it, manufacturers have responded by slightly changing the compound so that it can return to shelves.

Emily smoked the drug last December with friends and within 15 minutes, she told her boyfriend she was suffering from a migraine and needed to lay down.

She suffered a series of strokes which left her in a psychotic-like state, during which she urinated on herself, ran into walls, hallucinated and acted violently, her sister told CNN's iReport.

The police were called to help restrain her into an ambulance, and she was taken to Northwest Cypress Hospital, where she bit guardrails and attempted to bite medical staff.

Emily Bauer
Emily Bauer

Struck down: The drug caused her blood vessels to constrict and she suffered a series of strokes

 

Emily Bauer

Frightening: Her family decided to take out her breathing tube - yet the teenager fought for life

'We thought once she comes down off the drug, we'd take her home and show her the dangers of this drug,' her older sister, Blake, said.

'We didn't think it was as big of a deal until 24 hours later she was still violent and hurting herself. We realized you're not supposed to stay high this long.'

She was put into an induced coma as doctors carried out tests on her brain.

Doctors soon found Emily's strokes had caused severe vasculitis, meaning contracting blood vessels had constricted the flow of blood and cut off oxygen to her brain.

'In four days' time, we went from thinking everything is going to be OK and we'll put her in drug rehabilitation to now you don't know if she's going to make it,' stepfather Tommy Bryant told CNN.

Klimax potpourri by Kush
Drug

Danger: Emily bought the legal 'fake weed' Klimax potpourri by Kush, above, from a gas station

Different life: Emily is now blind and largely paralysed but continues to make small improvements

Different life: Emily is now blind and largely paralysed but continues to make small improvements

THE 'LEGAL' THREAT ON SALE IN OUR STORES: WHAT IS FAKE WEED?

Synthetic marijuana, which is known as 'Spice' or 'K2', is an herbal mixture sprayed with chemicals that 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. When many states outlawed the drug, manufacturers slightly changed the compound so they were no longer illegal.

It was linked to 11,406 drug-related emergency department visits in 2010, a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found. Most were aged 12 to 17.

The first state laws banning synthetic drugs were established in 2010. Now at least 41 states have banned them, but that has not deterred the manufacturers.

'These drug manufacturers slightly change the chemical compound, and it becomes a different substance that's not covered by the law,' said NCSL policy specialist Alison Lawrence.

Common side effects from smoking synthetic marijuana include bloodshot eyes, disturbed perceptions, a change in mood, paranoia, raised blood pressure or hallucinations.

 

Doctors soon found Emily's blood vessels were expanding again and while the family saw it as a sign of improvement, pressure on the teenager's brain grew rapidly - and dangerously.

Surgeons had to drill a hole in her skull and insert a tube to relieve pressure. But her brain was still affected.

'We met with Neurology team who showed us Emily's brain images,' her mother, Tonya Bauer, said. 'They told us that all white areas on images were dead. It looked to us at least 70 per cent of the images were white.'

Doctors said Emily would not be able to recognise her family and would never be able to use her arms or legs again.

With this heart-breaking news, Emily's parents made the tough decision to take out her breathing tube and stopped all nourishment on December 16 - but she continued to fight.

As her mother went to her room one morning, she said, 'Good morning, I love you' and was stunned to hear a hoarse voice saying: 'I love you too.'

'Even though she couldn't move, is blind, and could hardly be aware of what was going on around her, she laughed with us as we made jokes and listened to her soft whisper replies,' Blake said.

'It is my little sister shining through, in every way she can manage, with every ounce of strength.'

Struggle: Emily, pictured hooked up to an ECG, has started eating solid food again in an encouraging sign

Struggle: Emily, pictured hooked up to an ECG, has started eating solid food again in an encouraging sign

 

Emily Bauer
Emily Bauer

New world: Emily is believed to have smoked the fake weed with friends after buying it from a gas station

Emily knows where she is and recognises her family, but every day is still shrouded in confusion.

The family does not know how much control she will recover, but she is already moving her arms and legs, and two weeks ago she started eating solid food again.

Emily's parents have started a nonprofit organization called Synthetic Awareness For Emily to educate teenagers and parents about the dangers of synthetic marijuana use.

'Ee want to let kids and parents know about the warnings signs: migraines and withdrawal,' Bryant said. 'We all know the warning signs of alcohol and cocaine, but with this synthetic weed stuff, it's so new that nobody knows about this stuff. We want to let other parents know about this so they don't have to go what we've been going through.'

Emily Bauer
Emily Bauer

Lack of awareness: Emily's family said they had no idea how dangerous the fake marijuana could be and are now spreading awareness to educate other teenagers and students

Bryant said he knew Emily used real marijuana occasionally, and told her she would be grounded if he ever caught her smoking.

'Had I thought that there was any chance that she could have been hurt by this stuff, I would have been a lot more vigilant. I had no idea it was so bad,' Bryant told CNN.

'I'd never have thought we'd be in this situation. If she had bought it off the street or from a corner, that's one thing, but she bought it from convenience store.'

For more information about the family's nonprofit organization, Synthetic Awareness For Emily (SAFE), visit their Facebook page.

 

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Comment by ms. vee on February 8, 2013 at 12:19am

Stick 2 di real ting n we won't have these type of problems. I smoked weed my entire college career and graduated with an A. Relieves lots of stress...mi a tell yuh!

Comment by David Asher on February 6, 2013 at 10:42pm

Tall Island Girl, I have to say I am sick and tired of people slandering the good name of God's green herb. To called this man-made poison smoke which brain damaged this young girl "Ganja". is an outright lie and misinformation, which harms everyone who has been helped by the beneficial medical uses of Ganja. I don't think there is one Rasta who would defend that scandalous lie of a headline. I didn't say I was going to sue caribbeanfevercommunity.com, I just said they deserved to be sued. I never did see an apology or a retraction of this blatant lie of a headline. If it indeed was a simple "mistake". then own up to it and retract it. Emily bought the legal 'fake weed' Klimax potpourri by Kush, NOT "Ganja". I don't think this could possibly been a simple mistake. It was intended misinformation, an slander and a lie. Rastafari no apology, bless up, D

Comment by Ruff de Gehto Travler on February 6, 2013 at 9:53pm

Not mention Hi-Wine !!!! Rum oh !!!! I feel smashed now!!!! just thinking bout it

Comment by Ruff de Gehto Travler on February 6, 2013 at 9:51pm

@TIG ya dunn know but dem children ya so weird!!!!if a me I would not even try fe smoke dem ting ya!!! some of the drugs these kids a try I be like wha de ratted !!!! I use to think I was tuff drinking wray and nephew me na know!!!!

Comment by A.J. Joseph on February 6, 2013 at 1:31pm
hate to say it but ill say it ne way legallize it,,the real thing but educate ur selves & ur kids 1st b4 they begin to smoke it...most ppl smoke the fake stuff because their jobs do drug tests like if u wrk in a hospital or bank...it wont show up in ur urine
Comment by Leecy Walker on February 5, 2013 at 11:58pm

IM SORRY WE SHOULD CARE Y! ONE SHE'S UNDERAGE DOING ALL TYPES OF CRAP. These people today want them kids to learn on them own, alright go ahead. Let ur kids learn how murdering is bad by letting them do it. ya'll get the picture. I can't tolerate foolish people, they good for a laugh thats all.

Comment by David Asher on February 5, 2013 at 7:20pm

The headline in my emailbox read: 

Girl, brain-damaged & blind after smoking GANJA

caribbeanfevercommunity.com needs to apologize for this idiotic mistake and apologize in a seperate email. If you do not do this by tomorrow, I am pointing this idiocy out on every social media website I can, and unsubscribe from this mailing list. You need to be sued for irresponsible reporting.

Comment by Bombahdrop on February 5, 2013 at 5:15pm
Well Dam !!!! Let me try to understand this the Good Shhh is illegal while the Bad shhh is legal smdh it's no wonder y this shhh is legal in mostly all parts because they trying and hoping to kill some people. They need to close that store down where she bought this poison from. The family definetly have a law suit. Its funny how she was Ciphering around this poison amongst several of her friends yet she's the ONly one experiencing difficulties hmmmm. Why aren't the others who smoked it with her not affected, could it be. That Mayb she smoked more than the others did. I don't know bout this. Why she didn't just cop from a spot like normal people. Who the hell buys weed In a store and get a fruity looking bag with that name on it and expect it to be Good shhh lol i dont know which one is more shameful them people selling dem shitdeh or this girls friends and family sitting around talking about how she got this way. I can hear it now, my daughter smoked some bad maryjane. Smh
Comment by tanya tho on February 5, 2013 at 5:02pm

craziness very sad its not even real weed. this is when weed lessons should be given.

Comment by Heartt on February 5, 2013 at 4:39pm
This is a sad story. But do not call it weed when it is not the real thing.

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