Teen dies after smoking synthetic marijuana; parents warn others

Photos via KTLA

Photos via KTLA

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Parents of a 19-year-old California teen who recently died after smoking synthetic marijuana spoke to KTLA about trying to prevent similar deaths from happening in the future.

On July 11, Connor Eckhardt inhaled one hit of dried herbs that had been sprayed with chemicals to cause a pot-like high, his parents said.

“In a moment of peer pressure, he gave into that, thinking that was OK, it was somehow safe, and one hit later, he goes to sleep and never wakes up,” Connor’s father, Devin Eckhardt, said.

Connor Eckhardt quickly slipped into a coma and experienced brain swelling, his parents said.

Effects of smoking the often-legal product include altered mental state, irregular heartbeat and seizures, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“These substances are not benign,” Dr Andrew Monte, the lead author of an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine, said. “You can buy designer drugs of abuse at convenience stores and on the Internet. People may not realize how dangerous these drugs can be – up to 1,000 times stronger binding to cannabis receptors when compared to traditional marijuana.”

Since Connor Eckhardt’s death, his parents fulfilled his wish to have his organs donated and created a Facebook page meant to carry on his memory and tell others about his untimely death.

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25 comments

  • ewolcott3

    That crap should have been ban a long time ago! I have a son who lost his mind and ended up in prison after 3 hits! Thank God he didn’t die or kill anyone else!

    • Brittney

      It gets banned all the time and the creators just tweak the formula and the new formula is completely legal until they ban that one. Then they will just keep making more. Theres nothing we can do about it. I almost died from it. I smoked heavy for 2 years all day every day. Any questions about it? Come to me.

      • Jack Finnish

        It’s a horrible substance and legal synthetic marijuana can be solved without the need of banning it, legalise REAL marijuana, there is definitely something we can do about it

      • Debbie Shirey

        I have a son that won’t listen to me on the dangers of this drug (k2)
        Maybe if he heard it from someone his age group it would wake him up. I have tried everything My son is 26 yrs old. If you could say one thing that would make him understand it CAN happen to him
        Concerned & Scared Mom

        • alyssa

          Maybe you should show your son all of the articles of people dying not just from spice but specifically k2. I’m sorry he’s putting you in a position to be scared & worried for his life that’s truly unfair. I hope your son realizes before it’s too late .

    • John Thomas

      One – because he’s 19. You have to be 21 to buy from a dispensary. – That’s one of the problems I have with most of the medical/re-legalization laws. Since marijuana is not addictive, is FAR less harmful than alcohol, less intoxicating, does not fuel traffic accidents and violence as does alcohol, we should make the legal age 18 for marijuana consumption. We would keep millions of young adults out of jail and out of risk with this one change.

      Two – because it’s “legal.” – Thus, the bogus, police-state, Inquisition tool of drug testing cannot destroy their lives.

      Three – because the counter-productive FRAUD of marijuana prohibition keeps the prices pegged outrageously high. After re-legalization, average quality marijuana will probably sell for around $50 an ounce – less at Wal-Mart. – It’s just a plant.

  • Kathy Sweeney

    Please – it is not responsible journalism to call this shit “synthetic marijuana” or to say it gives you a pot like high.
    #1 it isn’t anything chemically close, and has toxic side effects unlike cannabis.
    and #2 it doesn’t have a high “like pot”.
    the kid who hears you call it synthetic pot will be thinking its as safe a pot and causes a mild euphoria.
    so, just just stop already!

  • Brittney

    It’s worse than heroin. Mostly because of how easy it is to obtain and smoke. And I have had every possible side effect besides death.

  • Jim

    My heart goes out to this kid’s family. Why not stop this problem at it’s root. Stop cannabis prohibition now! It does NOT protect anything! It makes everything 10x worse. This synthetic crap wouldn’t be necessary if the benign real thing were legal.
    Shame on the people who make this crap.

  • Angeline Farms

    I smoked week for 5 years and tries fake bake a couple of times. And I gotta tell you nothing compares to the Holy Ghost. God is so good all the time I don’t need to hide in a high anymore. He will so the same for you. Ask and ye shall receive. God bless.

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  • Lisa

    I had smoked the real stuff with no problems besides munchies; Smoked spice & after one hit blacked out for like 2 hours. My ex had to take my blood pressure after I threw up he kept talking to me. Honestly all I remembered was crying cause I didn’t know what was happening. I do remember him asking some questions but I couldn’t talk. Never again will I touch this crap; My oldest daughter @ 15 witnessed it & knows the dangers. My heart goes out to this young boys family.


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