CBS Local — A disturbing and dangerous trend is emerging among high school students hooked on synthetic marijuana. According to researchers at New York University Langone Medical Center, one in every five students who are using the “fake” drug are smoking it on a nearly daily basis.

The NYU study found that 20 percent of kids using the dangerous substance were smoking 20 to 30 times a month. Half of users reportedly taking the drug, known as “K2” or “spice,” were smoking it at least three times a month.

Synthetic cannabinoids (SC) are many times stronger than natural substances like marijuana. Many teens are reportedly led to believe that the “fake” products are less risky to their health. In actuality, using synthetic weed has been tied to high blood pressure, heart attacks, hallucinations, vomiting, and blurred vision.

Dozens of overdoses linked to K2 have been reported in many cities in 2017, sparking even more concerns at the number of children using the drug.

“If there are students using synthetic cannabinoids because they genuinely believe they are less risky than marijuana, this misconception must be addressed through better education stressing the greater danger posed by synthetic cannabinoids,” said NYU researcher Dr. Joseph Palamar. The survey talked to nearly 15,000 high school seniors and found that using SC was heavily linked to marijuana use. 8 out of 10 fake pot users also admitted smoking natural marijuana.

“Marijuana users who use other drugs are at highest risk for currently using SCs, so particular focus must be paid to these individuals to prevent increasingly dangerous and severe health outcomes among young users,” Dr. Palamar added.