15 sickened in NYC after taking synthetic cannabis
Synthetic cannabis is getting New Yorkers dangerously high and making them gravely ill, with more than a dozen people hospitalized in the past few days after smoking the imitation pot, city officials said.
There were at least 15 emergency room visits with “severe adverse effects”, related to possible ingestion of synthetic cannabis between last Thursday and Sunday. The patients were from East Harlem, Central Harlem and Chelsea, according to the New York State Health Department.
Health officials said they’ve seen a 220 percent increase in emergency department visits related to synthetic cannabis this year alone.
Synthetic cannabis products were made illegal in 2012 and include many dangerous chemicals and ingredients.
They are sold on the street by names such as K2 and Spice.
“K2, Spice, Green Giant — no matter what you call it, synthetic cannabinoids are dangerous and illegal,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett.
“I urge people not to use these products, which have caused a huge spike in emergency-room visits,” she said.
Ingredients in synthetic cannabis change frequently and therefore the risks and consequences of using them are unpredictable, Basset’s agency said.
Reactions include seizures and hallucinations but symptoms usually do not last longer than one or two hours, health officials said.
What Is Synthetic cannabis / Synthetic Marijuana And How Does It Compare To Traditional Marijuana?
Much like Frankenstein’s monster, synthetic cannabis/marijuana was created in a lab and resulted in a perversion of its original subject: the effects of THC, the component of marijuana that provides the “high” sensation. Like marijuana, the drug is smoked, though unlike marijuana it comes in small packets usually labeled “not for human consumption” and has names like “Spice,” “Black Mamba,” “K2,” “Fake Marijuana,” “Sexy Monkey” and hundreds of others.
Just being known as “synthetic cannabis/marijuana” has angered pot activists because, it’s effects are nothing like that of marijuana. Synthetic marijuana’s non-cannabis herbs sprayed with lab-created chemicals which are said to give users a stronger high than THC can lead to seizures, hallucinations and convulsions as well as profoundly negative psychological effects.
Even John W. Huffman, the scientist who is often credited with creating synthetic cannabis / marijuana on a federal drug grant to study the effects of drugs on receptors in the brain on lab animals, has recommended that people don’t ingest the compounds.
“These things are dangerous — anybody who uses them is playing Russian roulette,” Huffman said