And the 17-year-old has a message for anyone who wants to try fake weed.
"The high is great, but in the long run, it isn't good," she said, describing her experience smoking synthetic weed. "It's no fun to be stuck in a wheelchair, to have to go to therapy or (possibly) die."
But she prefers to focus on the stuff she can do, like getting a perfect score on her first world history quiz. For the fiery-haired student, simply being back at school is epic.
Less than a year ago, in December 2012, Emily was on life support after several strokes left her paralyzed, blind and largely unaware of her surroundings. Her family has no doubt the drug that landed her in the hospital was synthetic marijuana. Her parents first believed she had only tried it a couple times. But they recently learned the extent of her use -- Emily told them she smoked it daily for the two weeks before she went to the hospital.
Best known by the street names "Spice" or "K2," fake weed is an herbal mixture sprayed with chemicals intended to 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 and in most states, it's anything but legal.